U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has written a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel complaining that while 19,000 civilian defense workers in North Carolina are furloughed, German civilian workers at U.S. bases in Germany are getting a raise. Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, urged the Defense Department to suspend the pay increases in Germany.
The North Carolina workers are among 650,000 Department of Defense civilian employees being furloughed because of budget woes. But in Germany, the powerful union ver.di, which has 2 million members, called for strikes because there hadnt been pay raises for workers on the bases since 2010. According to press reports in Germany, the union was particularly interested in raises at the base in Bamberg because they said the base would close soon and unemployment then will be determined by pay at that time.
Hagan said the German workers will get a one-time payment of 500 euros ($649) in 2013 and a monthly pay increase of 30 euros ($39) starting next year. That means a total of more than $16 million in additional pay in 2013 and 2014, Hagans letter said. Workers in North Carolina will get a 20 percent pay cut each month of the furlough for a total loss in pay of $64 million.
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from Greenville, was one of 16 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who wrote to Hagel last week making the same complaint.
Hagan is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In her letter, sent yesterday, she said that the Defense Department told the committee it believed there would be a strike if there wasnt an agreement on wage increases, and that the union might turn that into a political issue. Hagan said the DOD should have been able to stand up to pressure from the German workers.
The DOD-authorized newspaper Stars and Stripes said about 18,000 German civilians work for Army and Air Force bases across the country.
McCrory slips, Hagan rises
Gov. Pat McCrory has seen some erosion in his support, but is still liked by about half of the state's voters, according to a new poll.
McCrory is favored by 49 percent of voters, but is viewed unfavorably by 32 percent, according to a new survey conducted for The Civitas Institute, a conservative advocacy group based in Raleigh. That is a slippage from March, when McCrory, a Republican, was viewed favorably by 56 percent and unfavorably by 25 percent.
The spin: It is inevitable that a governor gets some heat, said Francis DeLuca, Civitas Institute president. Note that at roughly the same point in her term as governor, Bev Perdue had a 36-38 favorable/unfavorable rating. McCrory retains a favorable image in the minds of voters.
The poll also found that Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat who faces re-election next year, had a favorable rating of 42 percent and unfavorable rating of 28 percent. That is a slight improvement from March, when she had a 41 percent/31 percent favorable/unfavorable rating.
The poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted June 18-19 by National Research of New Jersey and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
Brazile coming to Charlotte
DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile will be the keynote speaker for the Lillians List 15 Year Anniversary Celebration Luncheon, Sept. 20 at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte. A VIP reception will follow.
Proceeds will go toward training, recruiting and supporting pro-choice, Democratic women running for the Council of State and North Carolina General Assembly, among other elections. Individual tickets are $100.
Staff writers Rob Christensen, Annalise Frank and Renee Schoof of McClatchys Washington Bureau
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