Charlotte workers claim city restricts their money

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Some Charlotte workers claim the city isn't letting them control their own money in their paychecks.

Charlotte Firefighters Association President Tom Brewer said, "We believe they earned that money and they should direct it where they want it to go."

Brewer is one of 700 members who want their dues deducted directly from their paychecks.

For years, city officials have refused to allow them.

Brewer acknowledges some fear allowing that option could increase union effort, especially in politics.

"We do endorse candidates from time to time," said Brewer. "We are politically active, but union dues do not go to that or to fund that."

Council members seem split on the idea.

Michael Barnes and Warren Cooksey told Eyewitness News they support allowing workers to deduct dues, but councilman Andy Dulin doesn't agree.

City officials told Eyewitness News, setting up the payroll process could cost close to $80,000.

"We don't want taxpayers to be on the hook for this," said Brewer. "We told the city we're willing to pay for it."

If council objects to their request, Brewer said the association will consider all the options and that could include court.

All city employees can automatically give money from their paychecks as donations to either the United Way or the Arts and Science Council.

Mayor Pro-tem Patrick Cannon will ask a committee to study the issue.