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Carla Leslie of the United Steelworkers Local 15120 reads a statement during a rally for working families, laborers and community leaders held by Chattanooga Area Labor Council Monday, May 20, 2019 at Miller Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Leslie said she was there in support of working people and VW workers. / Staff file photo

A group of unionized workers in Chattanooga endorsed five candidates in the March elections for City Council on Thursday, citing support for higher wages and other labor issues.

The Chattanooga Area Central Labor Council, a group of 19 different labor unions locally, voted to endorse Jenny Hill (District 2), Dennis Milton Clark (District 5), Raquetta Dotley (District 7), Marie Mott (District 8) and Demetrus Coonrod (District 9) in their respective council races.

"After a rigorous process that included reviewing candidate questionnaires and conducting individual candidate interviews, our executive board and delegate members are proud to announce our endorsements for 2021 city of Chattanooga elections," spokesperson Austin Saurbrei said in a statement Thursday. "All of these candidates have committed to championing the $15 [minimum] wage for city workers, accountability and transparency in city tax incentive processes, evaluating city procurement policies and more. We look forward to supporting these candidates and continuing to hold them accountable to working families in Chattanooga."

The group endorsed candidates for five of the seven contested council districts, but not the mayoral race.

"Our member delegates voted to not endorse in the mayoral race at this point. In the event of a run-off election, we will reconvene and decide who and whether to endorse. We will continue to be in touch with mayoral candidates and learn more about their plans for working families in Chattanooga," Saurbrei wrote.

At this time, the group has interviewed mayoral candidates Monty Bruell, D'Angelo Davis, Wade Hinton, Russell Gilbert, Tim Kelly and Kim White on a broad number of topics.

The group listed its key areas of concern as:

COVID-19 recovery plans that ensure federal and state funds are directly supporting low and moderate-wage workers.

Establishment of a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour for all city of Chattanooga workers.

Establishment of clear criteria for the Jobs PILOT program that would include living wages standards, clawback provisions, more robust reporting requirements, targeted hiring and other measures that would help ensure clear benefit to Chattanooga area residents.

Procurement policies that encourage bids from contractors who participate in local Department of Labor certified trade apprenticeship programs.

Provision of staffing and other forms of support for City Council members.

Representation of working-class communities and union members on city boards and task forces related to construction, procurement and workforce development

Clear policies and plans for investment in low and moderate-income housing.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com.

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Roland Brown with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades holds up a sign as he marches in the Chattanooga Labor Day Parade held by the Chattanooga Area Labor Council Saturday, August 31, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chattanooga Area Labor Council is a regional body with a membership of 17 local labor unions representing over 5,000 workers in the Chattanooga area. / Staff file photo

 

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