Berry, the state’s labor commissioner since 2001, is renowned for her peculiar name, which is commonly mispronounced.
The correct pronunciation of her first name is “shuh-REE,” not that it bothers the labor commissioner.
“I love to hear (people) say it,” Berry said. “They just love ‘Cherry’ Berry.”
But Berry’s name and photo in elevators statewide has become a campaign issue, as the Republican incumbent faces re-election in November.
Her Democratic opponent is Charles Meeker, the former mayor of Raleigh. Meeker has pledged to remove the labor commissioner’s name and photo from elevators if elected.
“The photo is really just a self-promotion by a career politician,” he said.
Meeker said under Berry, the Department of Labor has failed to protect and serve workers in the state. He said he would take steps to emphasize worker safety, require that employers pay full wages on time and ensure workers are correctly classified as employees rather than contractors so they receive benefits.
“(Berry) has been there now 16 years, and her approach has been very laissez-faire in nature,” he said. “She just hasn’t done what the Department of Labor ought to be doing.”