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GALLERY: Marching for a raise, Union members across Texas encourage change

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Union members covered their cars in signs showing their support.

Brownsville, Texas(KVEO)—Dozens of cars lined up on Madison Street with signs held up calling for retired and current state employees to get $6,000 pay increases.

A line of cars on Madison Street outside Eddie Lucio’s Jr. office. (Salvador Castro KVEO)

Union members across Texas mobilized in a day coordinated event to encourage the change. A crowd stood outside state representative Eddie Lucio’s Jr. office chanting “pay raise now” hoping to get their voices heard. The chants energized the crowd composed of retired and state employees.

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Led by Albert Zepeda, who worked for the state for 29 years. and a recent retiree knows how challenging the effort can be.

Albert Zepeda speaks at the event calling on Texas legislators to start helping. (Salvador Castro-KVEO)

“We make this effort every two years and unfortunately we’ve been unsuccessful,” said Zepeda. The last time state and retired employees got a significant raise was in 2001.

Zepeda recently retired in September 2020 and started working again for the Texas workforce commission.

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Gloria Crixell is one of many retired state employees at the event and the mother of Albert Zepeda. (Salvador Castro-KVEO)

The $6,000 union members believe would serve as a way to help retired employees stay in retirement and give current employees a better way of life.

Union members watch as speakers address their concerns (Salvador Castro-KVEO)

Among those in the crowd is Diana Alvear another recently retired state employee. Having worked for the state for 30 years and seeing how her friends Albert and Gloria have struggled has her worried.

“I’m thinking about my next 15 years,” said Alvear. Who hopes that legislators will finally give them pay raises she believes they’ve earned.

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Diana Alvear chants ‘We need a pay raise now” (Salvador Castro- KVEO)

Lucio was not immediately available for comment but a representative from his office read his remarks. “The average retiree in the system makes just over $1,700 a month, this is no way to treat this form of public servants who dedicated their lives to the state.”

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