Contract Talks Heat Up between City, Unions

Contract Talks Heat Up between City, Unions

Memphis city employees and members of Mayor A C Wharton's administration are in heated debate over new contracts. Mayor Wharton ordered a 4.6 percent pay cut because of a tight budget, promising it would be temporary. That was two years ago, and it's still in effect.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis city employees and members of Mayor A C Wharton's administration are in heated debate over new contracts. Mayor Wharton ordered a 4.6 percent pay cut because of a tight budget, promising it would be temporary. That was two years ago, and it's still in effect.

Negotiations between the unions and the city haven't been picnics in the park. They've been massive food fights, with both sides tossing all sorts of charges and counter charges back and forth.

Nothing bugs city workers more than that 4.6 percent pay cut. Maybe workers will get some of that money back. Maybe.

"The administration is going to submit a budget that does include funds to start the restoration of the four point six," Wharton said.

That sounds great, but the music hits nothing but clinkers with Police Association President Mike Williams. Maybe they'll give back a little, but they also plan on cutting benefits, he says.

"That seems to be the trend, that the employees have to give up stuff. Why that is I do not know. I don't know what's driving that. I know they continually say we're losing money."

The city will spend money on police, just look at this past weekend. When the haters in sheets, also known as the Ku Klux Klan, showed up to rally, police were all over the place. The city hasn't seen this much security since the civil rights marches of the sixties. Everything turned out just fine on Saturday.

"Safety and peace have no price," Wharton said.

The fact is, there is a price the city is willing to pay - up to a point.

Williams stated, "This is going to set the tone for the future of the city employees."

As is always the case, the Memphis City Council has the final say on whether they get their pay cut money restored. Unions are already doing a lot of behind the scenes talking with council members.

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