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Memphis sanitation retirement vote delayed

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A day after Mayor A C Wharton agreed to give senior sanitation workers retirement benefits, city council on Tuesday delayed a vote to approve the benefits.

Mayor Wharton is pushing a new solid waste plan that would raise the solid waste fee for residents in the Bluff City and expand service.

The Wharton administration asked council to delay the vote on the new sanitation plan and pension issue.

MORE: Sanitation union reach first-ever retirement benefit deal

The delay came down to a document on the new sanitation proposal by the mayor's administration but it had too many holes in it that council questioned. Council members wanted to delay the vote and not get into a long debate. It was more of a technical issue and council said they wanted to come back it.

Council met in executive session Tuesday afternoon at city hall and this was really the first time council heard the details on the new citywide sanitation plan.

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The key point of the plan is a pension plan for the most senior sanitation employees still on the job, some in the early to mid 80s and 70s. These sanitation employees even marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis in 1968 shortly before the Civil Rights activist was assassinated.

The deal was brokered Monday between AFSCME Local 1733 and the Wharton administration.

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The union and the city have been negotiating for years. The details haven't been finalized but city officials say the retirement plan would work out to be $400 for every year of service up to 30 years. Only the most senior workers would be eligible. In return, the union has agreed to increase its workload, working longer hours covering more stops.

The retirement plan for these workers is a small part of a new solid waste services agreement the mayor is proposing. There will be a $2.25 increase to the solid waste fee in Memphis. That money would pay for new trucks and equipment as well as a new single stream recycling program every household would get a 98-gallon recycling container.

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