Union, Metro Public School workers hold rally

Members of SEIU Local 205 labor union outside the Metropolitan Courthouse at a rally for Metro employee pay raises and school funding on Tuesday.

Metro Public School employees, city workers, and union leaders held a rally at the Metro Courthouse on Tuesday in an effort to protect their raises and school funding.

Participants gathered outside the court-house on the public square prior to that night’s council meeting.

“We are here to try and get Council to understand that they need to fully fund Metro Schools,” said SEIU labor union member L. Honey Russell.

According to Russell, it is important for the city to fulfill its promise to city employees to provide a three percent cost of living pay increase for teachers and other Metro workers so they are “happy, healthy, and to keep morale up.”

Currently, Nashville is facing a $34 million dollar shortfall, and Mayor Briley’s proposed budget does not include the promised three percent cost-of-living pay increase. The budget also provides only $5 million of a proposed $44.7 million dollar budget increase to Metro Schools.

The rally was held prior to the Nashville Council meeting, where the mayor’s proposed budget cleared the second of three readings. Councilmember Bob Mendes has proposed a substitute budget which calls for a property tax hike to pay for pay increases and the school-funding request. A third and final vote on the budget is scheduled for June 19.

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