Local national employees of the U.S. Defense Department joined forces with retail workers for a labor protest downtown this morning. Participants added a touch of Halloween flair by donning costumes for what they called a “Zombiewalk.” U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz firefighters, Ramstein Inn and commissary staffers, along with employees of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade were at the demonstration. Recent negotiations between the United Services Union ver.di and employing government agencies, representing U.S. and NATO forces in Germany, closed without reaching an agreement. Ver.di had sought a 300 euro base increase and a 6% wage hike, while government agencies cited tight budgets as a major obstacle to meeting these demands. Ver.di announced plans for future strikes to advocate for better wages on behalf of their 13,000 German members. Further discussions are scheduled for Nov. 16-17 in Berlin.

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