‘I can’t afford to live in Charlotte’: City workers call for pay increase

CHARLOTTE — On Monday night, city workers from multiple departments marched from Marshall Park to the office of their boss, City Manager Marcus Jones, to address him and the Charlotte City Council.

[PAST COVERAGE: Charlotte city council members vote to keep pay raises in FY22 budget]

“We are asking that you give us what we are worth,” Antoquie Forney said.

The Charlotte City Workers Union, UE Local 150, wants them to have a 10% raise due to inflation. They also want paid daily overtime, shift-differential pay and a universal-sick leave policy.

“It is mentally, physically draining to me that I got to pick myself up to go to work Monday through Friday not knowing how I am going to make it,” said Rory Pegram, a solid waste worker. “It is just crazy.”

Rory Pegram, a solid waste worker in uptown, says he brings home $1,800 a month and $1,300 of it goes to the hotel he is living in. He says he must work a second job because of his low wage and sometimes brings home meals from the homeless shelter.

“I am tired of just surviving,” he said. “I want to live. All of y’all are up here living good. And some of you are living well. I am struggling, and I go to work every day.”

Jones is creating the budget for Fiscal Year 2023, and it won’t be introduced for several more weeks. The budget is subject to approval by the Charlotte City Council. The city’s employees hope their requests will be accommodated on July 1 when the new budget goes into effect.

“I get compliments, but I go home sad because I can’t afford to live in Charlotte,” he said.

(Watch the video below: Educators from 4 local school districts ask South Carolina lawmakers for pay raise)