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City-parish workers in EBR among lowest paid

3 years 3 months 9 hours ago July 22, 2013 Jul 22, 2013 Monday, July 22 2013 July 22, 2013 5:43 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

BATON ROUGE - A national labor union said workers for the City-Parish of Baton Rouge are among the lowest paid in the entire southeast region of the United States.

It comes nearly eight months after the parish paid close to $400,000 for a "pay study" to see if compensation was adequate.

Hundreds of city-parish workers are maxed out, meaning they've earned all of their possible raises and can't get any more money unless the city intervenes.

Alvin Rattle is an electrician for the Department of Public Works, and says he works two jobs just to make ends meet.

"The majority of the people who work for the city-parish have two jobs," Rattle said. "There are a lot of people more underpaid then I am, the only way I can survive is I'm a certified electrician. I can do other work also."

According to Helene O'Brien, the President of the Service Employees International Union, workers in the city-parish of Baton Rouge make anywhere between 5 to 30 percent less doing the same jobs than other cities in the southeast region.

"The city-parish workers are among the lowest paid workers int he south, and we have argued that needs to be addressed," O'Brien said.

Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel said the pay study should be released next month, until then he would not comment on the study.

Councilwoman Tara Wicker is familiar with the problem. She believes city-parish workers need a raise, but said there needs to be the funds to make it last year after year.

"What we would have to look at in the budget is are there opportunities for us to provide raises and make it sustainable because you don't want to give it then have to take it away," Wicker said.

For workers like Rattle, they don't know how much longer they'll be able to wait.

"They should really consider giving a pay raise and find the money in the budget this year," Rattle said.

The Labor Union representing some city-parish workers is making an appeal to council members and Mayor Kip Holden.

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