FORT LEE, Va. (WRIC) — Military barbers working at Fort Lee and Fort Pickett have been striking since the Fourth of July. The barbers say they are protesting against unfair wages offered by the contractor who employs them.
About 20 barbers employed by Sheffield Barbers have been on strike, some of them gathered outside of Fort Lee on Friday afternoon. Virginia Sen. Joe Morrisey and the Virginia President of the American Union joined the barbers as they marched outside of the base.
They carried picket signs and chanted alongside a giant inflatable rat and other signs.
“The reason we are on strike is when Sheffield first came in, they started committing unfair labor practices. this is an unfair labor practice strike,” said local union field representative and president Kenneth Doggette. “These barbers are out here for the long haul, we’re going to stand up and fight for what’s ours and we will be here until we can sit down and come to some terms.”
The barbers say they want to go back to serving the military but still have to stand up for themselves.
When hired under the contract in 2019, barbers were supposed to make 55% of each hair cut price. The price in 2019 was $12.15 but even starting out wages were based on the 2017 price of $11.25. The hair cut price has been raised each year, now costing $13.25 but barbers have not had any increase in wages.
Currently the employer, Sheffield Barbers, has only offered workers a $0.06 increase per hair cut. If pay was based on 55% of $13.25 instead of $11.25, that would be a $1.10 increase.