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'It's about fairness' | Virginia Beach city workers urge mayor, council to agree to collective bargaining

The newly formed Virginia Beach Workers Union says they're demanding a voice for "safety, dignity, living wages and an end to institutional racism on the job."

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach City workers said they want their voice to be heard when it comes to safety on the job, wages and “institutional racism on the job.”

About 50 city workers and union members gathered outside of Virginia Beach City Hall asking for collective bargaining on Tuesday. They said it’s all about fairness.

The newly formed Virginia Beach Workers Union said they want their voices heard and the power to negotiate with the city when it comes to issues in the workplace.

"We want to ensure that our city workers are being treated fairly. That's what this is about. It's about fairness," said Latasha Holloway, director of the Virginia Beach Coalition.

Back in May of last year, former Gov. Ralph Northam signed a law that allows public workers to negotiate with their employers, otherwise known as collective bargaining.

That’s if local governing bodies agree to recognize them. City workers said it needs to happen in Virginia Beach.

"We’re not asking to be rich, but we’re asking to be treated fairly," said one city worker during the rally.

The UE Local 111 cited a study from the Virginia Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis that found 9 out of 10 Virginia Beach city employees cannot afford to raise a single child within the city limits.

"They are taking care of our water, making sure that it’s clean. They’re making sure that trash is picked up. They’re making sure that the sewers work. They’re doing all the stuff that most people don’t want to do," one speaker told the crowd.

Once the rally wrapped up outside, the group moved inside the council chambers to address the mayor and council directly.

When they finished, Mayor Bobby Dyer thanked everyone who spoke for their input.