MEMPHIS,TN - The City of Memphis is fighting back, calling a lawsuit filed by thousands of city employees without merit.
The two sides have been at odds since June when the city council approved a 4.6 percent pay cut for city workers.
On Friday, August 5, 2011, 13 unions, representing nearly 5,000 city workers, asked a federal judge to reverse the pay reduction, calling it a violation of the contract reached earlier with the city.
"Our premise in the beginning," says City of Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little, "was that it's better for folks to have a job with some benefits, rather than to have a greater number of city employees without jobs. We all share in the cuts, so we will just have to see where the courts rule on that."
On Monday, August 8th, the city responded to the unions' lawsuit, saying it believed their argument had no merit.
"Our only wish is for the city to come to the table in good faith and act in good faith," says Chad Johnson of AFSCME Local 1733. "We have an agreement. Lets stick to that agreement."
In court papers, the city's attorneys say a deal reached with the union was non-binding, and hence not enforceable.
The city says if it is forced to revoke the pay cuts, more than 400 jobs might have to be eliminated. Attorneys for Memphis city government have until August 19th to respond to the unions' injunction request.