What will it take to end the Blue Flu?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When it comes to the Blue Flu, what is the bottom line? What is it going to take to end this job action?

City workers agreed we are all paying more for health coverage these days, but insisted this about more than that. They said it’s about broken promises.

Still, retirees, taxpayers and council members all agreed on one thing: something has to be done

Councilwoman Janis Fullilove held her fourth Crime Summit Tuesday night, but people ended up voicing their concerns about the Blue Flu and giving ideas on how to bring it to an end.

Fullilove had kind words for police and harsh ones for fellow city council members at the meeting.

“I care about this officer, and I care about this one, because I know they’re doing the best they can do for us,” the councilwoman said, pointing to officers in the crowd. “But the administration has screwed them!”

The summit was held at Lake Grove Baptist Church. However, instead of blight, some wanted to talk about the Blue Flue, where hundreds of police officers have called out sick. Many have called out in protest of cuts to health care coverage.

Charles Payne said at the meeting that, as a taxpayer, he is willing to do whatever he has to, to help police, fire and other city workers.

“If my taxes have to go up for me to have a safe neighborhood, I would go along with it,” he said.

Thomas Malone with the Fire Fighters Association said employees and retirees only want the coverage promised to them.

“If you work and you retiree from this city, you’ll get a defined benefit pension for the rest of your life, and if your wife never remarries, she can keep that same pension until she dies,” he said of the coverage.

He said there is a simple solution to bring the outcry to an end: compromise.

“The employees give a little. That’s not going to sit well,” he said. “The businesses give some, and the taxpayers give some.”

Mayor A C Wharton has asked people to bring their ideas for funding pensions to a meeting next Tuesday. Malone said he has a plan he will be presenting.

WREG called the Memphis police union to get their ideas on how to end the protest, but never got a call back.


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