The message from the Memphis Police Association to Mayor Jim Strickland is direct. “We don’t want your scraps.” The union was responding to Monday’s announcement of a $6 million grant that will be used to attract and keep officers in Memphis.
They don’t like it, and say they want restoration of health insurance benefits.
At a Tuesday news conference, the folks at the MPA were angry. And they made it clear there is only one thing they want. Restore the benefits that were cut in 2014.
The bonuses offered were in violation of the agreement between the city and the Association. But union President Mike Williams says the frustration level is so bad they are reaching the point where, in his words, the rubber meets the road.
“The general consensus of the officers we’ve talked to in response to the Mayors proposal is this is a slap in the face,” says Essica Littlejohn. “This is a punch in the gut. And we don’t want your scraps. Do what’s right.”
“We are intelligent people. Most of the people here have degrees. So we can decipher and understand English and numbers, so you can’t continue to pull stuff over our eyes,” says Mike Williams.
The Mayor’s office released a response to the news conference, saying the announcement of the grant doesn’t violate the contract. They also say restoring benefits would result in a big property tax increase.
This group says the whole budget should be studied to see where the city is spending money.