Silent protest mounts as 'Blue Flu' and 'Red Rash' reports build - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Silent protest appears to mount as 'Blue Flu' and 'Red Rash' reports build

Posted: Updated:
The sheriff released a statement Sunday saying in part, "we will continue to support the Memphis Police Department to ensure that it is not compromised." (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The sheriff released a statement Sunday saying in part, "we will continue to support the Memphis Police Department to ensure that it is not compromised." (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - The silent protest appears to be mounting, as new reports are coming into the WMC Action News 5 newsroom that other city employees are joining police in the rumored "Blue Flu."

There are now rumors of an underground firefighter sickout called "Red Rash." This comes after police confirmed dozens of officers called out sick over the last week in a reputed sickout called "Blue Flu."

Councilwoman Janis Fullilove says she's getting word other city employees may join the purported sick out.

"What I understand the "Red Rash" is, supposedly the fire fighters will go out and call in sick," said Fullilove.

No one will go on record about it because unions and city have Memorandums of Understanding, that union members will "not be accorded the right to strike or engage in any work stoppage, slowdown, or any and all similar activities."

"I know if you are stressed out, if you are depressed that can bring about illness," added Fullilove.

After a tip about an emergency meeting on Sunday, a sheriff's spokesperson confirmed the sheriff met with police, but would not reveal what happened behind closed doors. The meeting happened hours after deputies picked up the slack Saturday night in areas usually protected by police.

The Shelby County sheriff released a statement on Sunday saying in part, "we will continue to support the Memphis Police Department to ensure that it is not compromised."

As Fullilove calls for the city council to rescind the health care cuts, public perception of the sick call surge is mixed.

"I don't agree with it. You've got a job that you say you're going to do," said resident Ron Williamson.

WMC Action News 5 has received several anonymous communications from people who say they're city employees and note that the coming week will be worse.

"You can't blame the guys for going on strike, if they feel they've been mistreated and short-changed," noted Memphian John Alsessr.

Sunday evening, Fire Association President Thomas Malone told WMC Action News 5 he has asked his membership to stand down on the "Red Rash" threats. He says they do not want to put the public in harms way.

Instead, he says a rally is planned across from the Memphis Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday to protest the chamber's campaign in support of the health care cuts.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow