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City adds 12 sanitation workers to commemorative grant

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twelve sanitation workers will soon be added to the list of individuals eligible for a commemorative grant through the city of Memphis.

In early July, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced the city would be providing a $70,000 grant to 14 remaining sanitation workers who participated in the 1968 sanitation strike. Since then 36 people have come forward to claim the grant as well including Kelly Lofton and his daughter, Elaine Taylor.

Taylor told WREG in August she contacted the city after the initial announcement was made, but her father, who worked for the sanitation company from 1951 to 1995, wasn’t on the list.

“When they say he wasn’t there, I have to keep pressing on to see because I knew he was entitled,” she said.

When we asked the city about Lofton’s case, city officials said they used past honorary event registries and union membership lists to identify 14 eligible individuals. They were looking in to Lofton’s case and expected to approve his eligibility once they could verify his employment record.

In a release sent out Monday, the city said in order to qualify, recipients needed to be full-time sanitation workers in February 1968. In addition, they must have 25 years of service at the time of their retirement and not on a pension plan.

The city said12 individuals met the requirements and would be added to the list.

“When the grants were first awarded, we anticipated there could be additional recipients and we let the City Council know that we would likely be coming back to them to approve the funding,” said Ursula Madden, the city’s chief communications officer.

The City Council will discuss the new grants at the September 19th meeting. If approved, the additional grants will cost $1.1 million and that money will come from city reserves, the city said.

It’s unclear if Lofton was among those added to the list.