Police, Fire unions plan to fight benefit and salary cuts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police, Fire unions plan to fight benefit and salary cuts

(WMC-TV) - Memphis firefighters and police officers said Saturday residents will feel the effects of recent budget cuts and they said the cuts could impact public safety.

The Memphis Fire and Police Associations are calling foul on the recent actions of the Memphis city government.

"We showed our cards and then they raised the bet," said Memphis Fire Association vice president Joe Norman.

"They want to do what they want to do without talking concessions or any kind of straight talk," said Memphis Police Association vice president Michael Williams.

Both unions said the trust is gone after the mayor sent out a memo announcing plans to cut jobs, death benefits, implement furloughs and temporarily cut salaries 4.6 percent across the board.

Norman said two weeks ago the mayor agreed to freeze salaries if firefighters agreed not to pursue a salary increase.

"The memorandum states that the wages will remain at this particular rate for the remainder of the contract," said Norman.

The remainder of the contract is two more years. Williams said it is the same story with the Memphis Police.

"We have a signed contract with the city," said Williams. "If they wanted to make cuts, they should have talked about it at the negotiating table."

Both unions said the administration is making public decisions in private.

"They say public safety is not going to be affected," said Williams. "I beg to differ."

They said they will go to court if necessary.

"We're pursuing our options to see what remedies may be available to us," said Norman.

The unions told Action News 5 to expect a big showing at the next Memphis City Council meeting Tuesday. Both unions want the city and the city council to revisit this issue.

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