WJTV News Channel 12 - Protesters to demonstrate outside DHHS Headquarters in Raleigh

Protesters demonstrate outside DHHS Headquarters in Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Department of Health and Human Services employees upset over raises given to top level employees protested Thursday outside of the agency's headquarters in Raleigh.

State mental health workers who are members of the UE local 150, Public Service Workers Union are outraged at Gov. Pat McCrory and DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. The workers say they were told that their wages would be frozen yet upper management was given raises totaling $1.7 million.

"We're not asking for exorbitant things. We're just asking for a living wage so we can take care of our families. Give us a seat at the table," said protest organizer Larsene Taylor.

Workers also say that McCrory has denied Medicaid expansion in North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act, which they believe could result to $16 billion for the state over a five-year period.

Members of the union also claim that DHHS has cut more than 17 percent of its staffing positions and employees have not been given a raise since 2008.

Union workers attempted to deliver a letter to Wos asking for worker's rights as far back as Oct. 28. Taylor said she called Wos' office to scheduled the delivery but no one from DHHS returned her call until Wednesday at 4:45 p.m.

Wos was not in her office Thursday but someone at the lobby took the letter.

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