Caswell Center union members stage protest

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Union members at the Caswell Developmental Center in Kinston protested low wages during a gathering at city hall Tuesday.

Union members called for wages of at least $15.00 per hour.

Officials say a large majority of Department of Health and Human Services employees make less than $12.25 an hour.

A big topic at the event was overtime. Many employees said they do not get paid for working extra hours and instead get compensatory time and are forced to work two jobs.

Bonita Johnson has been a DHHS member for 17-years and wants to see some change. She says, "So that we can make a change in our life on these jobs where these people are robbing us of our money, robbing us of our, making us feel like nobody. Working us like slaves. Treating us like slaves."

Robbin Patrice Clarke Hines has worked at Caswell Center for 15-years and says, "You mean to tell me that food places and everybody else can make $30,000 a year and we can't make $30,000 a year? Then you want to know why do the workers come in tired? Because they working two jobs."

Caswell officials said they were not aware of the event and they had no comment.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services did not return calls seeking comment.