Councilwoman Fullilove plans to fight sanitation privatization - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilwoman Fullilove plans to fight sanitation privatization

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Councilwoman Janis Fullilove said a cloak-and-dagger plot to privatize city sanitation is in the works, and she will not take it lying down.

"As my grandmother says, 'if that happens, somebody is going to have hell to pay the captain,'" said Fullilove.

This comes after a "Discussion of the Sanitation Voluntary Buyout Program" showed up on Tuesday's agenda.

"Now they come blind-siding those of us who thought they were going to have the buyout for the more elderly or those who have been on the job 35 years plus," said Fullilove.

Fullilove said 240 people are lined up in this latest buyout proposal.

"If 240 people leave the sanitation department, there will no longer be a sanitation department," she said.

Fullilove said she originally proposed a sanitation worker buyout and retirement package months back under different conditions.

"I have learned over the weekend meeting with union leaders of AFSCME, the administration plans to privatize sanitation within seven to eight days, and that's egregious," she said.

Fullilove said the sanitation workers are a sacred cow because Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died in Memphis to protect their rights.

"We're going to fight it if I have to lead a march through the city of Memphis and get other labor union employees from around the country to come here, because this is so wrong," she said.

Some estimate outsourcing sanitation would save $25 million per year.

"The city keeps talking about how they have no money, but the city brings on a consultant for $85,000 to tell you you're going to need to do away with this department," said Fullilove.

Fullilove said the administration has maintained they do not need council approval to outsource sanitation.  Memphis Mayor A C Wharton could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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