FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SALISBURY, N.C. - Oct. 25, 2021 - As she runs to become Salisbury’s first elected Mayor, Al Heggins has accepted the endorsement of organizations that represent working people, including the first-ever endorsement given by Salisbury Professional Fire Fighters Local 2370.
Heggins has proudly accepted the first endorsement by SPFF Local 2370 for a candidate for public office. As a chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2370 represents more than 75 percent of Salisbury Fire Department’s operational staff. Heggins has supported their call for better pay and benefits from the City.
Heggins has also proudly accepted the endorsement of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council, the local labor council of the AFL-CIO that represents hard working people throughout Salisbury and Rowan County.
As part of her platform, Heggins has renewed her commitment to a $15 minimum wage, safe working conditions, and better benefits for working people and their families.
“I stand on my record of supporting working people as I campaign to become the first elected mayor for the City of Salisbury,” Heggins said. “I’m a worker, and I come from a working family. Both my parents worked in the mill. I believe elected public servants have a duty and moral obligation to do whatever we can to ensure a living wage, safe working conditions and protections for workers and their families.”
Rarely has the need for better pay and benefits in the City of Salisbury been more evident than now, as the Salisbury Fire Department endures the loss of multiple experienced, highly trained firefighters to other departments. The compensation provided to Salisbury Fire Department employees is less than that of all surrounding full-time departments, even though the Salisbury Fire Department recently earned a coveted Class 1 ISO, the highest rating a fire department can receive.
“The Salisbury Professional Fire Fighters Association is proud to endorse Al Heggins for Mayor,” Local 2370 said in their endorsement. “It is our firm belief that this candidate will care for the Salisbury Firefighters, allowing them to care for our community.”
The Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council said they endorsed Heggins because she is working to obtain better pay and working conditions for Salisbury firefighters, as well as supporting necessary policy for safer working environments for all City workers.
“She is ready and willing to fight for all workers and economic policies that will benefit their families,” the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council said in their endorsement.
Currently the Mayor Pro Tem of Salisbury, Heggins served as Mayor from 2017-2019 after becoming the first African-American woman to win election to City Council. As the top vote-getter in 2017, she became the City’s first Black woman to serve as Mayor.
As Mayor, Heggins moved the City Council to a vote to increase pay for all City workers to a minimum of $11.76 an hour. But Heggins said that is still not enough. She is adamant about reaching $15 an hour, believing the City must set the standard for pay and clearly communicate the expectation that City workers are paid in a manner that values them and their families.
A $15 minimum wage for City workers would also send the strong message to existing businesses and companies considering coming to Salisbury what the City expects from them for their workers, Heggins said.
“Workers must be heard. Only the worker is qualified to express what their working conditions are because they are the ones who are doing it day in and day out,” she said. “It is unfair, unwise and unethical to turn a blind eye to the needs of workers. Elected public servants and employers must support the workers in the organizations they serve.”’
When workers are supported, the entire City benefits, Heggins said.
“Salisbury has so much to offer. But we will only reach our greatest potential when we support workers and their families with living wages, competitive benefits, safe working conditions and every aspect needed to create a family-friendly work environment,” she said.