AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A few hundred state workers marched on the Capitol to implore lawmakers to fund an across-the-board raise for employees of the State of Texas.
They’re asking lawmakers for a $6,000 raise for all state agency and university workers, as well as more money and additional staffing for state-funded services.
The Texas State Employees Union says its members need an increase to cope with cost of living expenses.
“State workers are struggling in the skyrocketing turnover in our agencies and universities show it,” TSEU president Judy Lugo said at a Wednesday rally on the Capitol steps. “The number one reason people quit working for the state is because of low pay.”
Both the House and Senate have approved variations of across-the-board raises for teachers and some other education professionals, but public university workers and state agency employees feel left out.
“State employees, university employees, provide critical service for working people: the disabled, the mentally ill, students, the poor, the sick, the children, the elderly, for all of those who are at risk,” said Brooks Sunkett, public sector vice president for the Communications Workers of America.
TSEU is Local 6186 of the CWA.
“We make the difference in this state,” Sunkett said.
Demonstrators chanted that the state has money in the Rainy Day Fund to pay for this request.
Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey said from a government standpoint, lawmakers have a tough decision to make regarding appropriations.
“They are dispersing money that is not theirs. They are dispersing money that came from taxpayers, and there is never a shortage of people who would love to have some of other people’s money. Unfortunately that’s just the way it is.”
Lugo disagrees. At the rally she said: “Use that money Texans gave you for Texas, and give state workers and retirees a raise.”