MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Association is demanding higher wages for officers.
The demands come after the City of Memphis failed to respond to the proposal of the association, and the negotiation deadline is tomorrow.
In a press conference Monday, Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams spoke on the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King and the sanitation workers strike.
"We don't want everyone descending upon this city going to all of these black-tie affairs, patting each other on the back, and we're still having problems in this city," Williams said.
Williams said he will make sure visitors to the city during MLK50 will know the City of Memphis is not, in his words, negotiating with the Memphis Police Association in good faith in contract negotiations.
"You cannot honor Dr. Martin Luther King and refuse to bargain with employees," he said.
The only item on the table is wages, and Williams said it is not carrying on Dr. King's legacy of social and economic justice for everyone.
Williams also said that MPD patrolmen are paid 16 percent below market value, while sergeants are paid 25 percent below market value.
It is unclear how much of a raise the association asked for.
The city in a statement called it "complete fiction." The city is actually slightly above market average in both police officer and sergeant positions.
Williams would not say what kind of wages the union wants. He said the city has the union's proposal, but the union does not have what the city is offering.
The deadline to vote is Thursday at midnight before negotiations go to impasse.
Williams said he'll make sure visitors to Memphis know by launching a campaign next week using media advertising and radio spots.
However, he would not say if the union will use billboards like it has done in the past.
The city also said in a statement that it is absurd to suggest the city has not progressed in wages and benefits for its employees since 1968.
"Come next week, we will have officers in this city that are going to be working 12-hour shifts," Williams said. "They're going to be all over the place."
In a statement, City of Memphis said in part, "It appears Mr. Williams is attempting to negotiate through the media and build up toward yet another campaign for Mayor."
"If me bringing that up and you have to revert to'Mike Williams is looking for your job in a year-and-a-half,' I think that's a slap in the face to why we're commemorating the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King," Williams said.
Williams did run for mayor in the last election and has said on Facebook he plans to run again.