City workers ask for equal raise - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City workers ask for equal raise

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Dozens of city workers filled city council with standing room only.

All of them were there with one goal in mind, to ask the council members to take a second look at the budget and their proposed raises.

Doug Collier says the city officials have agreed to go over a possible pay plan for city workers for the future. However, he says he hopes in the meantime they'll be able to get equality in their raises.      

"We're not asking them to explode the budget, but we are asking them to work within the budget to see if that's not feasible of our request," said Collier.

The proposed budget for next year has a raise already built in for government employees, at a rate of one and a half percent. However, some of the employees are asking for a second look at the proposal, saying it's not equal.

"One and a half percent means a whole lot more to someone making 100 thousand a year than to someone making 20 thousand a year," said Collier.

Robert Hart, who is a city employee, says that percentage won't amount to much for those whose paychecks are on the lower end of the scale.

"For someone making 30 thousand a year that's only $8.46 a week and that's nothing for these people," said Hart.

He says while the city offers a lot for their employees, most of the people working with him have to hold a second job in order to survive.

"The benefits are great, but you can't take your benefits and pay your EPB bill," said Hart. "I'd like to do it for myself, but more than that I'd like to do it for some of these other people that make less than me and are in the same position that I'm in."

They tell Channel 3 they just want an equal raise.

"We're asking them to take the total number of dollars allotted and divide them up equally among all of the general government employees, equally across the board and let them all have the same pay raise," said Collier.
Councilman Chris Anderson says they're not closing the door on the possibilities.

"I'd like to see the pay inequity dealt with soon, I'm a little concerned it may be too late in the budget year but I’m willing to look at it."

He says without these valuable workers, the city wouldn't be as great as it is.

"People, like me, get credit for things the city does all of the time, but the people in the gallery tonight are the ones picking up the garbage and making sure there is trash up off the streets. People working with youth, these are the people who actually make our city great," said Anderson.

The first reading of the budget will be in two weeks.

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