Police and fire unions prepare for battle over benefits - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Police and fire unions prepare for battle over benefits

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Memphis police officers are fighting for their pay, their benefits, and even their jobs.

It's all on the line as the mayor and city council go back and forth over next year's budget.         

Tough times are forcing city leaders to consider layoffs, buy outs, even cuts to retiree benefits.

"It effects every working man and woman on the fire department and the other parts of the city of Memphis workers," retired Memphis firefighter Skip Sanders said.

Skip Sanders retired from the Memphis fire department four years ago. He spent four decades working for the city.

He showed up to city hall Tuesday because some of his benefits could be on the chopping block as the city looks to cut.

He says police and firefighters are putting their lives on the line for city residents.

"They do it daily but they want to be treated fairly, simple as that," Sanders said.

City officials say public safety workers account for 75% of city jobs.

And the unions say they would bear the brunt of any cuts.

 "This administration has given these people zero, zero wage, zero benefits all they've done is take, take, take on the back of the employees, And every time they come up with something they say, well we need to make cuts," Thomas Malone of the Memphis Firefighters Association said.

The city council delayed budget votes for two weeks.

But police officers say they'll be back for that meeting, sending a message to the council.

 "They feel that they can do whatever they want to do to the city employees well when they do that you effect families you effect livelihoods," Mike Williams of the Memphis Police Association said.

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