Retired employees threaten to sue the city over health care changes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “I don’t care if the mayor wants to sit up in his office on the seventh floor and smile and wear the fancy suits. This is low down.”

Mike Lee is president of the Association of City Retired Employees, better known as ACRE. Wednesday, this group got together to discuss what legal options they have to sue the city over healthcare cuts.

Lee said, “You know what’s the option? We got backed into a corner.”

Those cuts affect current workers and retirees, but we couldn’t get any current employes to talk on camera, but they told WREG they are furious.

Mayor A C Wharton says they are anticipating this.

“Any time there is change you can expect lawsuits. That’s the American way.”

Wharton says the city needed to make a change, or else it would go bankrupt. Next month, the city must decide on if it should change the way it funds the pension program. Something the state said needs to happen.

Tuesday night, hundreds of people came to speak out, specifically about health care. Lee said it ended up being all for show.

“All of us went through the motions thinking we had democracy up there, but we didn’t.”

He says the major concerns are from retirees on a fixed income. Their healthcare premiums are expected triple next year, and they’re already starting to panic.

“One person this morning told us that after they pay their new premium they would have $95 to pay their food, their light bill and everything else.”

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