Memphis unions gather to oppose repeal of 40-year-old ordinance

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More than a dozen unions told Memphis City Council they don't want to see the Impasse Ordinance end.

If the ordinance ends, it could mean the mayor of Memphis would make the final decision when unions and the city don't agree.

Unions representing police officers, firefighters, and more stood together in front of Memphis City Hall on Friday.

"With every union participating, that just goes to show how important this document is," Thomas Malone with Memphis Fire Fighters Association said.

The Impasse Ordinance went into effect in 1978. Under the law, when the city and the unions come to an impasse in negotiations, both sides send proposals to a committee. That committee chooses one of the proposals and then sends it to City Council for a vote.

Councilman Kemp Conrad proposed repealing the Impasse Ordinance, which would give the mayor of Memphis the power to settle the impasses between the city and the unions.

"The process has worked for 40 years, so why gut it now?" Malone said.

In a statement, Councilman Conrad said "The truth is we are making great headway amending the current inefficient Impasse Ordinance, and we thank the reasonable folks representing labor for this progress. That group does not include inflammatory Mike Williams, who--thankfully it appears--labor purposely did not include in the presser today."

Union leaders agreed that negotiations to get the Impasse Ordinance changed--but not fully repealed--are going well behind closed doors.

"We feel confident that by Tuesday's vote that a compromise can be reached," Mathew Cunningham of Memphis Police Association said.

Friday, union leaders wanted to sent a message, that they're not backing down.

The council is set to vote on repealing the Impasse Ordinance on Tuesday.

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