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City creates new retirement plan for sanitation workers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A new retirement plan will help provide financial stability for the city's sanitation workers, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Thursday.

In addition, the city will be providing a $50,000 grant to each of the 14 remaining sanitation workers who participated in the 1968 sanitation strike.

"It is never too late to do the right thing," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. "The 1968 sanitation workers changed our city for the better through their courage and resolve, yet they've never had the financial security that other city employees enjoyed."

The reason?

In 1968, the sanitation workers chose to go with social security when given a choice between it and the city's pension plan.

However, it was quickly discovered that social security did not provide enough for these workers to retire comfortably.

The problem: the federal government would not allow the city to move these workers to the retirement plan.

That changes today, Mayor Strickland said.

"Past mayors and councils have explored this issue for years. It was a priority of mine to get this done."

The city announced it has created a new retirement plan for all sanitation employees that will supplement Social Security and the deferred compensation plan.

Depending on length of employment, the city will contribute up to a 4.5 percent match of employees' contributions.

The plan is set to go before the City Council for approval soon.