BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Frustrated and upset, local teacher unions joined forces to fight against the reduced pay raise passed this past weekend.

Outside of the Louisiana State Capitol, educators came together to say the pay they’re getting is not enough. With teacher shortages and uncompetitive wages, they believe it’s a recipe for a disaster.

“It is imperative that we try our best to reach the Southern regional average sooner than later. Today is the day,” stated Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) President Tia Mills.

The LAE and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) made their voices heard and asked lawmakers to reconsider the amount they are paying teachers.

“We are disappointed by the fact that the legislators signed on to a bill at this point that only gave teachers. The amount of salary increases that even the governor thought wasn’t good enough,” said LFT President Larry Carter.

LAE and LFT rally at the state capitol.

Dressed in black, the teachers signified their disapproval of a $1,500 pay raise instead of the $2,000 Governor John Bel Edwards proposed.

“They have all these other pet projects that legislators are trying to fund. And they think because they’ve given a small increase, that it’s enough,” stated Carter.

“Cost of living costs are going up, but we are nickel and diming our educators each and every year by giving them $400 and $800 this year, $1,500. The lives feel worth so much more than that,” Mills added.

She said lawmakers are not meeting teachers’ basic needs, which impacts them and their students.

“We want to live in homes. We want to be able to afford a vehicle to get to and from work. I think that’s more than reasonable,” Mill explained.

Carter said places like Texas are beating the state out of their teachers.

“We have to be competitive with those other states in the southern region to make sure that we keep the best and brightest teachers, but also we keep our veteran teachers here in the state of Louisiana. They pay taxes here in Louisiana, and we need those taxes,” Carter said.

Local educators ultimately want to reach at least a $60,000 salary for teachers just entering the profession, and even more for veteran educators.

Lawmakers are hoping to finalize their budget plan by the end of this week.