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NAACP joins rally supporting city workers

– The local NAACP branch will join with labor organizations to rally today in support of collective bargaining, officials announced Friday.

The Rev. Saharra Bledsoe, branch president, said the civil rights organization will stand with city employees who face the loss of their collective bargaining rights.

City Council members voted along party lines May 27 to end collective bargaining for all city employees who are not police or firefighters. A last-minute parliamentary move, however, put the measure on hold until Tuesday, though Mayor Tom Henry is expected to veto it. The council is expected to vote on overriding the veto June 24.

The measure would mean the city administration could no longer negotiate with the six unions representing city employees outside the fire and police departments. Proponents say the change is necessary because unions force taxpayers to pay workers above-market wages and benefits; opponents of the change say unions ensure employees are paid what they are worth and point to the awards the city has won for efficiency and productivity.

A proposal to also end collective bargaining for police and firefighters died for lack of support.

Bledsoe said the rally, planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today on the Courthouse Green, is important despite the fact that the proposal appears to be a done deal.

“We feel the entire city needs an opportunity to demonstrate our support for city employees and collective bargaining,” she said.

“Together as a city, we can move mountains.”