NCAE Leaders and UniServ Directors:
Educators around the state continue to inquire with NCAE about the planned walk-out on November 4 and the publicity that this event is continuing to attract in the media and in schools. Many of you have fielded inquiries in your communities. I would encourage you to use this email, or parts of this email message, to answer questions about the walkout, including the main question, “What is NCAE’s position on the November 4 walkout being organized on Facebook?”
1) The November 4 walkout is NOT an NCAE endorsed or sanctioned activity.
2) NCAE understands that this walkout is the consequence of the General Assembly and Governor McCrory for failing to live up to their constitutional requirements to enact budgets and policies that provide for a sound, basic education for all students in North Carolinas public schools. NCAE is working within the legal and political systems to hold the politicians accountable for their actions this past year, including replacing them with elected leaders who will stand up for public education.
3) We want educators to understand that there may be legal and employment consequences to participating in a sick out. Sick leave can only be taken in compliance with State Board policies. Criminal law also prohibits public employees from participating in activities that constitute a “strike.” Violation of policies and laws could be used by school districts as a basis for disciplinary action, including dismissal. The criminal law is provided below.
*§ 95-98.1. Strikes by public employees prohibited.
Strikes by public employees are hereby declared illegal and against the public policy of this State. No person holding a position either full-or part-time by appointment or employment with the State of North Carolina or in any county, city, town or other political subdivision of the State of North Carolina, or in any agency of any of them, shall willfully participate in a strike by public employees. (1981, c. 958, s. 1.)
§ 95-98.2. Strike defined.
The word “strike” as used herein shall mean a cessation or deliberate slowing down of work by a combination of persons as a means of enforcing compliance with a demand upon the employer, but shall not include protected activity under Article 16 of this Chapter: Provided, however, that nothing herein shall limit or impair the right of any public employee to express or communicate a complaint or opinion on any matter related to the conditions of public employment so long as the same is not designed to and does not interfere with the full, faithful, and proper performance of the duties of employment. (1981, c. 958, s. 1.)
§ 95-99. Penalty for violation of Article.
Any violation of the provisions of this Article is hereby declared to be a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1959, c. 742; 1993, c. 539, s. 667; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
Rodney Ellis Sr.