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Memphis Police Fight Pension Cuts

July 28, 2014  | 

Photo: Memphis Police Association via Facebook
Photo: Memphis Police Association via Facebook

Police and firefighters in Memphis are calling in sick by the scores as a new Tennessee law kicks in requiring cities to stop shortchanging workers’ pensions.

Bloomberg News reports on the desperate attempts to fight sweeping cuts in retired personnel health benefits.

The Memphis officers contend that Tennessee’s largest city, which for years has failed to save enough to support promised retirement checks, plans to make up that sum by eliminating retirees’ health insurance, which has fewer legal protections. At one point, 558 police officers stayed home, one-fourth of the force, in a city that had the sixth-highest incidence of violent crime in the U.S. last year. At the end of last week, 131 were out.

The workers say Memphis should find money to shore up their pensions by rolling back business-tax breaks, which cost more than the city pays for their insurance each year. It’s an argument unions want to advance nationally to parry challenges to their benefits by cash-strapped governments.

Public-worker retirement benefits have been a target of politicians since the recession. As investment losses forced state and local governments to deal with a $1.4 trillion shortfall in their pension funds, officials from California to New York rolled back promised benefits they said taxpayers couldn’t afford.

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

TheRookie @ 7/28/2014 4:15 PM

Back in the day as well as today department/agencies can't/couldn't find people to perform the duties of a L.E.O. The benefits package was what sealed the deal of dedicating 15 to 30 years of service. Whether believed or not being a public servant in Public Safety is not that glamorous. It's long hours, holidays worked/missed, kids birthdays & events missed, & lots of cynicism in life. If not for the guaranteed (at the time) & promised benefits it wouldn't be
worth it.

kevCopAz @ 7/28/2014 6:16 PM

This is SIMPLE, the city promised (can you say contact-written!) to pay the benefits and they are backing out, can you say TORT violation. SUE them for failing to up hold a legal contract. The City can STARTING NOW for new hirers do what they will, the new cops can agree to work for what is in the contract or not. But a promise is a promise and it is a legal obligation that the city has agreed to, otherwise why would anyone ever work for them, believe what the agree to etc. They are a deadbeat lying untrustworthy entity and no one should continue to do any contractual business with!

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