Local News

State Employees Vent Frustrations Over Proposed Pay Cuts

Posted May 16, 2001 5:12 a.m. EDT

— Taking home a smaller paycheck is not a pleasant thought. Some state employees swarmed to Raleigh Wednesday to threaten a lawsuit if their paychecks are cut to cover medical benefits.

The rally was expected to draw more than 6,000 state employees, but an afternoon rain cut the turnout considerably. Many workers wore orange ribbons to show they hold more than one job to make ends meet.

"It's a shame that we have to work two or three jobs just to maintain a steady income," says prison employee Gwen Bussie.

Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC), had strong words for Governor Easley and state lawmakers who plan to take money from the state retirement account for a two percent pay raise. He told people at the rally that SEANC will continue to fight for their rights.

"If the governor doesn't agree to release the money back into the retirement system, SEANC will initiate a lawsuit on your behalf," he says.

The state Senate is expected to have the budget ready for a vote by the end of the month.