MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Sunday, city workers voiced their concerns over the mayor's proposal to increase their insurance benefit contribution.
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones announced a proposal on Friday that would require city workers to pay 22 percent of their insurance cost instead of 18 percent. The mayor said it's the best option to deal with sky-rocketing insurance premiums.
Related: Mayor defends insurance contribution increase proposal
Mobile Firefighters and police officers said the work they do is vital for the city, and they don't understand why they're forced to take the brunt of the city's financial deficit.
"We know that times are hard. We haven't asked for a raise, but what we're asking for is stuff is not be taking away from what we already have," Officer John Angle said.
Officer Angle was the spokesman for a couple dozen of police and firefighters who took time out on their Sunday to send a message to city leaders.
"Basically, what you've got is a lot of officers who want to put faces to the decision that will affect their households. They want to let everyone know that the numbers that they see on paper actually have faces behind them," Angle said.
The mayor said the employee contribution would continue to go up over the next three years.
"This is not just going to be a 22 percent increase and stop. It's 22 percent for the first year, move up to 25 for the second year and up to 30 percent the third year," Angle said.
The increased insurance contributions essentially mean a pay cut for city workers who haven't received raises in six years, according to Angle.
"We're already living on bare means right now. It seems like every time something comes up it's always at the expense of the city employees," Dwayne Patrick said.
Patrick, a firefighter with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department, said the city couldn't function without city workers.
"It's hard on the guys. The morale is low. We're still going to do our job. There's no doubt about it. We'll give 120 percent, but we would like for the administration and the city council to appreciate us," he said.
The mayor's proposal will be on Tuesday's city council agenda. Police and firefighters said they'll be at the meeting.
Firefighters' salaries start at $30,000, which is about $10.70 an hour.
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