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Protesters march to a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120 euro wage increase for civilian base workers.

Protesters march to a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120 euro wage increase for civilian base workers. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Protesters march to a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120 euro wage increase for civilian base workers.

Protesters march to a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120 euro wage increase for civilian base workers. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Protesters listen to a speaker during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120-euro wage increase for civilian base workers.

Protesters listen to a speaker during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The German trade union ver.di organized the demonstration to lobby for a 120-euro wage increase for civilian base workers. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

A protester spins a noisemaker during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The protest was organized by the German trade union ver.di to lobby for wage increases.

A protester spins a noisemaker during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The protest was organized by the German trade union ver.di to lobby for wage increases. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

A protester wears a vest that translates to "strike" during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The protest was organized by the German trade union ver.di to lobby for wage increases.

A protester wears a vest that translates to "strike" during a demonstration outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. The protest was organized by the German trade union ver.di to lobby for wage increases. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Protesters gather outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, calling for a wage increase for German civilian base workers, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

Protesters gather outside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, calling for a wage increase for German civilian base workers, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

Hundreds of German local nationals protested outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, before marching to the Grafenwoehr city call. The German workers' union ver.di organized the protests in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and its local national employees.

Hundreds of German local nationals protested outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, before marching to the Grafenwoehr city call. The German workers' union ver.di organized the protests in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and its local national employees. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Hundreds of German local nationals gathered outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, to protest a 1.3 percent wage increase offered by the U.S. during annual contract negotiations.

Hundreds of German local nationals gathered outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, to protest a 1.3 percent wage increase offered by the U.S. during annual contract negotiations. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Stickers worn by protesters striking Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and German local nationals were emblazoned with the German workers' union primary demand — an extra 120 euros per worker, per month. Protests were held outside U.S. bases across Germany. This one was at Grafenwoehr.

Stickers worn by protesters striking Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and German local nationals were emblazoned with the German workers' union primary demand — an extra 120 euros per worker, per month. Protests were held outside U.S. bases across Germany. This one was at Grafenwoehr. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Hundreds of German local nationals protested outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, before marching to the Grafenwoehr city call. The German workers' union ver.di organized the protests in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and its local national employees.

Hundreds of German local nationals protested outside U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, before marching to the Grafenwoehr city call. The German workers' union ver.di organized the protests in response to contract negotiations between the U.S. military and its local national employees. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Hundreds of Germans working for American and other foreign militaries protested outside bases Monday to demand a higher wage increase.

Members of the German labor union ver.di, which represents a majority of the local nationals employed by foreign militaries, held a “warning strike” calling for a flat rate increase of 120 euros per employee per month. The offer by the foreign forces would be an increase of 1.3 percent.

At Grafenwoehr, hundreds of workers were bused in from across Bavaria to join the daylong strike. Hundreds of local nationals working for the U.S. and other militaries, including Great Britain, congregated at the main gate of U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr before marching to the city hall.

Several hundred also protested outside Ramstein Air Base. Similar protests were held last week outside bases elsewhere in Germany, union organizers said.

Wolfgang Dagner, a ver.di representative, said the 120-euro flat-rate increase demanded would even out what he said was inherent inequity in wage increases based on percentages.

“The one who doesn’t earn much will always stay down at the bottom, and the ones who already have a lot will get more and more,” he said. “We want the people to be even … and therefore the 120-euro goal.”

Union officials said a 1.3 percent increase was not enough to keep up with the increase in the cost of living.

Negotiations last year resulted in a 2.4 percent wage increase for local nationals.

Robert Braun, who was protesting in Grafenwoehr, said German companies like BMW are increasing wages to match the rising cost of living in Germany, while the U.S. and other foreign militaries are not.

U.S. Army officials declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations, but Grafenwoehr spokesman Ray Johnson said the strike had a minimal impact on base operations.

“We respect the rights that our German employees have as being part of a union,” he added.

Marcus Kloeckner contributed to this report.

darnell.michael@stripes.com


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