Firefighters and police officers rally in the name of negotiatio - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Firefighters and police officers rally in the name of negotiation

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Healthcare is a sore topic of conversation for many firefighters and police officers in Memphis.

With recent budget shortcomings, many men and women in uniform say getting hurt on the job could put them in a financial nightmare because of how much healthcare costs.

Police officers, fire fighters and citizens came together on the corner of Poplar Avenue and Highland on Saturday to support negotiations between police and the city. The chairman of the negotiations team says they are trying to come to an agreement but all they want is the city to sit down with them face-to-face.

"It feels good and that's the whole point in this because we want citizens to know that how the city handles it's employees affects us all. We really appreciate all the support that we have gotten from the citizens here in Memphis," said Marcus Tucker, negotiations chairman.

The clock is ticking in the battle for benefits, and union leaders say they felt it was time to bring awareness to where they are in negotiations. Union leaders say since 2010 their health care premiums have increased by 41 percent and they just cannot afford the hike but city officials say in order to change the benefits, taxes would need to raise.

This is the first time in history that negotiations are not taking place face-to-face. Union leaders hope Saturday's rally shines light on the ongoing battle that has been taking place since February.

If negotiations are not reached by 11:59 p.m. on April 1, an impasse, or deadlock, will be declared, and it would then be up to members of the city council to step in and settle this ongoing labor dispute.

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