Memphis Council Close To Retirement Deal With Sanitation Workers

Memphis Council Close To Retirement Deal With Sanitation Workers

Sanitation workers don't get city pensions and they've been pushing for a retirement fund since the 1960s
MEMPHIS, TN -- Memphis city leaders may have reached a retirement deal with the sanitation workers union.

Both sides say it will improve city services and end the long retirement controversy.

Sanitation workers don't get city pensions and they've been pushing for a retirement fund since the 1960s. The issue is what brought Martin Luther King to town when he was assassinated. If the deal goes through, it would be a huge step forward. But at what cost to customers?

Memphis residents just got a break on their trash bills. Now the city could take that away.
In July bills went down about two dollars a month. But next week, the city council may change that.

The extra money will generate almost $5 million dollars.

The city would use that to buy new garbage trucks and 40,000 recycling bins the size of garbage cans.

Almost two million dollars would go toward a retirement fund for sanitation workers.

"About 25% of our workers are age 62 and older," says Gail Tyree with AFSCME. "They would love to go home and enjoy their grandchildren. It's hard."

"A lot of these guys cannot afford to retire," says Jake Brown with Rincon and Associates. "We have gentleman in their 70s. One gentleman is 86 years old and still working."

Retiring workers would get a one time payment, earning $400 for every year of service. That would cap at $12,000.

Union members are all for the plan.

"It's been almost 2 years," Tyree says. "We're just really grateful we've come to the point where this is a win win. It is for the residents of Memphis because of the services they'll continue to receive. It's a win for the administration and also AFSCME members."

They say customers won't pay anymore money than they were before July when the reduction took effect.

The council will discuss and likely vote on this Tuesday at 3 o'clock.
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