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Louisville public defenders hoping to negotiate new contract

Since unionizing a year ago, they are hoping to receive more pay and other benefits that would encourage more people to join the office.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Public Defenders Union is demanding better contracts.

The held a forum on Saturday, asking the public to join them as they wrote letters to their board hoping to negotiate a new contract.

Cat Vining, a public defender for the juvenile division, said there hasn’t been much movement since unionizing a year ago.

She said they are hoping to receive more pay, which Vining said would encourage more people to join the office.

“We’re supposed to have about 72 to 78 attorneys, and we have much fewer than that. We have less than half of that,” she explained. “Our starting pay was $45,000, which according to HUD is low income. You know, you have people coming out with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, taking poverty wages our first year. You’re not allowed to have any unpaid – any paid time off whatsoever. So, in your first two years, you get two weeks paid vacation. That’s kind of untenable.”

In addition to higher wages, Vining said they would like to see policy changes, improved insurance and parental leave.

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