Tuesday, July 12, 2011

City Charged with Union-Busting Efforts as Federal Suit is Filed

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 12:17 AM

Union representatives meet the media.
  • JB
  • Union representatives meet the media.

It is no secret that long-standing relationships between public employees’ unions and governmental units are in jeopardy.

For much of the spring, national attention was fixated on efforts by Wisconsin state government to disenfranchise teachers’ unions, and the abolition of bargaining rights for the Tennessee Education Association and its affiliates was arguably the most dramatic single event to emerge from the 2011 session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Now the battle is being joined between the City of Memphis and 13 local unions. At a press conference held by union representatives on Government Plaza Monday morning, Mike Williams, vice president of the Memphis Police Association, charged that union-busting and not money was the key issue in the unions’ dispute with the City, one which was now been formalized in a class action suit against the City Council and the administration of Mayor A C Wharton.

“That’s exactly what it is,” Williams answered when asked by a reporter if anti-union sentiment was involved when cuts in pay and benefits were included in the final city budget approved by the Council on June 21.

“This is not about money,” he said. “It’s about trying to do away with the viability of union contracts. If they’re able to take away money this time, they’re going to come back next time and do something else.”

The suit filed in Federal court seeks to invalidate the City’s action in imposing on city employees a 4.5 percent pay cut which, Essica Little Littlejohn of the Police Association said in an opening statement, is at variance with agreements reached earlier in formal impasse talks between the unions and city government.

“A deal is a deal,” Littlejohn said. “Once you’ve signed a contract you have to stick to the terms.”

The suit seeks a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction later against both the pay cuts and execution of a planned buyout procedure for city sanitation workers.

Williams said that the setting aside of $13 million from the City’s reserves as a buyout fund for sanitation workers, “which they didn’t even ask for,” was a preliminary move toward privatization. “They want to draw down sanitation workers, and then they will say, ‘We don’t have enough sanitation workers.’” Then would come an overt move to privatize, Williams said.

Meanwhile, rumors abound that there will be efforts at the next Council meeting of July 29 to alter last month’s budget agreement and to rescind the cuts in pay and benefits for city employees. But various council members privately express skepticism that seven votes can be found to support such a move, which would cost a total of $17 million, money that presumably would have to come from the $76 million reserve fund.

Favorite

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • GOP Figure Bill Giannini Killed in Car Crash

      Accident occurred in Decatur County on I-40. Shelby County native was former chair of county Republican Party and Election Commission, was meditating on likely race for state Senate in 2018.
    • Mackler Out of Senate Race, Yields to Bredesen

      In bow to reality, new-face Democrat withdraws in favor of two-term former Governor, the party-stablishment favorite, will continue with political action committee.

Speaking of School Consolidation

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

  • Cohen to Introduce Articles of Impeachment against Trump

    Ranking member of House Judiciary subcommittee, says, apropos Charlottesville and Trump's apparent defense of the white nationalist fomentors there: "There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen."
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • The Big River Crossing: A Weekend to Remember

    The giant locomotive whistles, the inspiring speeches, the dazzling display of rainbow lighting on the Harahan Bridge at night, and the first treks across the bridge by foot and by bike are all embedded in Memphis history now, as the "Main St. to Main St. Multi-Modal Connector" project came to pass, linking Memphis to West Memphis, and both to the future. (WITH SLIDESHOW AND VIDEO OF BRIDGE LIGHTS)
    • Oct 25, 2016
  • Councilman Calls for Local Control, Wants Confederate Monuments Removed

    District 1's Bill Morrison challenges state law, says Memphians should have "right and power" over public monuments.
    • Aug 16, 2017

Most Commented On

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation