Memphis Firefighters get raises, for now

Memphis firefighters got approval for their controversial raises, but some city leaders say "not so fast!"

This afternoon a City Council committee voted to give firefighters a 1% raise in January, even though the full council is almost sure to veto the whole thing next week.

City Council members have been doing this for weeks...

Meeting with union members and giving them bad news.

But - at this meeting - union leaders walked away winners... If only for now.

A one percent raise in January for the city's 1500 firefighters.

"I feel like the majority of the council will look at this and weigh the facts and basically judge us on our own merits," said union negotiator Thomas Malone.

Two weeks ago, police union members felt the same way.  They got their raise in committee.

But at a regular meeting last week, the full Council vetoed the raises and the police left empty handed.

Council members say it's liable to happen again with the fire department.

"I have trouble believing that the council will vote against police salary increases and then vote in favor the firefighters salary increase," said Council member Tom Marshall.  He says the firefighters deserve the raises, but that the money's not there.

Dedrick Brittenum says he thinks the finance team can find it.  "The administration could give the employees effectively a 1% increase in January 1 and still be well on its way to the goal of making a 50 million dollar surplus."

Union negotiators say it's a simple matter of finding $400,000 to give Memphis firefighters an extra ten to fifteen dollars a paycheck.

The next full Council meeting is June 6th and there's a very good likelihood that this item will be added for a full Council vote.