Sanitation Workers Rally In Memphis

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(Memphis) Sanitation workers in Memphis spent their Labor Day morning rallying for a proposal to give them their first-ever pension plan.

The city council is expected to vote on the issue Tuesday, which would also mean an increase in how much you pay in solid waste fees.

At 71 years old, with 47 years on the job, Cleo Smith can think of other things he'd like to do with his time, besides driving a garbage truck.

“I plan on going home and spending time with my family,” said Smith.

And he will, if the City approves a plan tomorrow that would allow about 40 people in the city's Sanitation Department, including Cleo, to retire immediately.

They are people who are still working, over the age of 65.

“At the end of the day, it’s about making sure these employees have the opportunity to go home with dignity and provide for their families,” said City Councilman Harold Collins.

The Memphis City Council will vote on whether you will pay more in solid waste fees: $2.25 more a month, so that the sanitation department can replace run-down garbage trucks and allow workers to have pensions, so they can retire if they want to.

“Social security won't pay all my bills,” said 72-year-old Elizabeth Jenkins, a sanitation worker.

“Eleven-hundred dollars isn't going to do me any good,” said 61-year-old William Stevenson.

If approved, the plan would give workers $400 for every year of service, up to 30 years, giving Cleo $12,000 a year to live on, on top of what he gets in social security, making retirement possible.

“I probably will in the next year or so, yeah,” said Smith.

Until then, Cleo says he plans to continue serving the people of Memphis and hopes he'll be able to do it in a new and improved garbage truck.

The City Council is expected to meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday