Blue Flu similar to 1978 strike

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former Fire Union Vice President Sam Posey is watching the city employees’ rift with the city and remembering the summer of 1978 when police and firefighters went on strike in a labor dispute.

“I learned real quick, nobody wins, everybody loses,” said Posey.

Back then, Mayor Wyeth Chandler threatened officers about sick time, something we saw this week from Mayor Wharton. Just like now, the Greater Memphis Chamber was thrust in the middle back then.

Posey said it’s all being repeated. His arrest for picketing was front page news back then, and he aired his concerns on WREG’s airwaves.

“This city has been jeopardized, it’s a damn shame,” he told us back then.

In 1978, the city shut down, the National Guard was called in and Posey called it chaos.

“There were fires going on. They were accusing us, which we didn’t do it,” said Posey.

The strike angered the community, and it took ministers and business leaders to help orchestrate a deal.

It’s something Posey hopes happens this time around.


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