Businesses boycotted over City Council budget vote

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There’s a controversial boycott in the city of Memphis.

Upset with the City's new budget, the Memphis Police Association is asking people to boycott businesses associated with the Chamber of Commerce.

Why? Because the association says the chamber lobbied the City Council to reduce the health benefits of city workers.

Hundreds of businesses, large and small, are members of the Chamber of Commerce.

“I love Bar Louie,” said Mike Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association.

Despite it being one of his favorite restaurants, Williams says he won't be going back anytime soon.

In fact, he says he's not going to patron any business associated with the Chamber of Commerce, “The Chamber of Commerce was so active in trying to force the retirees out of the healthcare system.”

He posted the idea of a boycott on Facebook and now hundreds of people, upset with the City's approved budget, say they are jumping on-board.

They’re angry the City Council voted to reduce benefits of retirees.

“This was one of the toughest decisions the City Council has ever made,” said Myron Lowery, who represents District 8 in the council.

Lowery voted in favor of the cuts.

He says it was either reducing benefits for City workers or raising Memphis property taxes by 23 cents, “The following year the property tax increase would be even higher.”

He says this boycott is a dangerous one, “That would not be productive for our city.”

Some businesses owners don't understand it.

“I would probably tell them not to take an emotional stance and to sit back and think about it before they do it,” said Hugh Balthrop, owner of the Sweet Magnolia Ice Cream Company.

“This is just one thing we have in the works right now,” said Williams. “There will be more to come.”

Williams and hundreds of others who 'liked' the idea of the boycott, at least on Facebook, say they just want the City Council to reconsider the budget.

“Anything that was done can be undone,” said Williams.

Williams is asking businesses to support the cause, write letters to the chamber and the council and he says he would happily support their businesses again.

Lowery says this boycott won't work because the council has already made its final vote.



  • Joe

    Really mike williams….? trying to lead your little boycott? I’m sure you don’t care how high taxes get as long as your sweet benefits aren’t touched….
    guess what? the moneys not there…..and your bunch has to share the pain like everyone else…
    Why is it that police and fire seem to think they should be forever untouched?
    Grow up and study government……learn a little about our crippling debt load….only then should you open your mouth

    • Donna Kirk

      Joe…. debt has been caused by corruption in our government officials. Not by paying men and women to place their lives on the line to protect your property from fire, crime and responding to families from car accidents heart attacks etc. Our elected officials miss appropriated funds for their own benefit. We paid our part…City of Memphis didn’t. That’s why such high taxes.They soon will be exposed. My husband did not give his life to the city for them to take away my health care and Pension to renovate an old building. !!! I have made the ultimate sacrifice! !! I Pray you never need any public servants.

      • Dr. JohnS

        Donna you have that right, every body has their greedy little hands in the cookie jar and no one seems to know who is taking it. I think the FBI should investigate the whole bunch and send them prison. Always have to have their toys because they get kick backs from the contractors.

    • Dave

      Yeah the money’s not there except they voted to move ahead on the Raleigh springs mall project to the tune of $30million. Yeah that makes sense. Sheesh.

  • Debora

    Why don’t they vote to cut their pay an their benefits. Soon Memphis will be run by criminal s an who will be there to stop them. Then you have arsonist an no frire department. What are wr going to do then, take in our own hands. I don’t think many won’t to do that. Support the police an firefighters they need it.

  • Brian Nance

    To Mr. Hugh Balthrop, Don’t get emotional ?? This is the lives of me and my family we’re talking about. This is about whether we eat or not. Whether we have money for gas to get to the job I am going to have to find. This is about the promise I was given after putting my life on the line for almost 34 years. Don’t Get emotional ???

    • Dr. JohnS

      Brian thank you for sharing, I appreciate it. There is plenty enough money if the crooks would keep their hands out of the cookie jar. They promised you and need to live up to it. Now if they want to change it for new starts then that is a different story.

  • Kevin Lewis

    I’m going to sit back and see how this plays out. I can understand why City Employees and retirees are concerned, they are affected on both sides of the coin because they are tax payers as well. I wonder what their reaction would be if the City Counsel gives in and raises taxes…then everyone would be crying. We, the citizens see Fire and Police as well as other City Employees wasting our tax dollars everyday…not a day goes by that I don’t see a Fire Truck in a Grocery store parking lot while the fire crew is inside shopping for snacks, they should bring their snacks with them…I don’t get to shop for snacks while I’m on the clock. I see Police Officers riding in squad cars in shorts and tennis shoes with their wife and kids in the car…saw one at the Exxon on Third and Crump this past Friday coming out with chips and sodas. I have seen City Employees in City cars coming out of stores at a strip mall with bags in their hands and have also see a few with their city pick-up trucks parked on side streets sleep. Go to 201 Poplar to get a police report and see how long it takes and the attitude you get when you come down their to pay for one…they act like they are doing you a favor…poor slow service is what you get and now you want us to feel sorry for you because it’s all coming full circle. The front office has to carry most of the blame by not monitoring our having the right people in supervisory positions to get the most out of our tax dollars. Now years of waste with regards to time and resources has finally caught up with the system and it’s time to pay the piper…

    • Bushman

      WELL PUT, INTELLECTUAL AND RATIONAL THINKING! Good job, AND – if you look at Mr. Lewis’s posted photo, he is obviously a military man (so he knows about public service – wonder how many of our current public officials are ex-military veterans?).

    • Harry

      Detroit screwed over it’s police department and fire department and Memphis is heading in that same direction.

    • Peat

      Your hatred of the police and fire depts is obvious. Did they put the handcuffs on you too tight the last time you were busted?

      • blahblahblah

        No Peat, you obviously didn’t read the whole post. He exposed ALL city employees who abuse their free rides, not just police and fire.

    • Dianne

      FYI-the firefighters in the store are not getting snacks, but, the 3 meals they share working a 24 hour shift. They can only stop at stores after an emergency run. But, you are speaking of current employees. This decision is affecting the elderly who have no means to defend themselves. Many are in nursing homes or unable to understand what is happening. My 84 year old father gave over 40 years as a police officer. He gets only a small pension. He cares for my ailing mom who has Alzheimer’s. I don’t expect you to understand or care, but my dad cannot go back to work long enough to earn any social security for Medicare. He will have to pay $1800 a month to keep their insurance. They may as we’ll put a knife in his back and my mom’s.

      • Bill

        Don’t give up, the Private sector has been making it under the same circumstances all our lives. It’s tough but can be done.

    • Brian Nance

      When you see fire equipment a grocery stores they aren’t t buying sacks. They are buying the food they eat that day. Firefighters work 24 hour shifts and the city doesn’t furnish any of that. The food they eat, the phones they talk on, the TV they watch, even the internet they do city business on are paid for by the firefighters themselves. Even though they are not at the station, they are ALWAYS ready to make a call and put their lives on the line For You. Mr. Lewis you don’t you don’t buy snacks at work? You also don’t go to work with the knowledge that you may not come home to your family. And the poor slow service you speak of from the police is because of a lack of manpower because of budget cuts and poor management by the city.

      • blahblahblah

        He exposed ALL CITY EMPLOYEES WHO ABUSE THEIR FREE RIDES….fire trucks and police cars are just a lot more obvious than the white ford pickup with a city logo.

  • John G

    It will work Lowry. Sue your employer for the fourth time because you were wronged. You sued fed ex claiming you were discriminated against, you sued your news station you worked for claiming you were discriminated against, you sued the city same thing. Buy another 50 mil boat dock, buy another 250 mil fed ex forum, but another 25 mil red bird stadium, buy another 100 mil trolley system, give millions to Chisca hotel and Raleigh springs mall, give 30 mil to sears crosstown building, buy another 30 mil dollar Overton square parking garage, give 200 mil to bass pro shops and kemp Conrad’s Electrolux project which will personally profit him millions (Tbi investigating soon), full disclosure coming. The seven council members corruption/embezzlement WILL be exposed.

  • Bill

    City workers have what we in the Private Sector call Dream Benefits. Unbeleivable benefits that allows someone in their 40’s to retire for the rest of thier life in comfort. some will even Double Dip, they’ll retire from one Division and go to work in another and pick up retirement from that one too. All on the government dole. It’s a great gig, a real! Dream gig if you can get it. I overheard a Corporal for the Police Department complaining about all of the Policemen leaving the force because of the cuts. I asked City Hall for a list and there’s not one avaialable so it’s a lot of BS. He also said he’d worked for 33 years, and he’s thinking about retiring at 51 years of age. Really? 51 years old and you really think you should be able to retire. Anyone know what you get in the private sector for SS at 51 yeers old?

    • Tge73

      Bill I can tell you have never put on a bullet proof vest or pulled a big line. Fire and police are not able to do their job untill they are 65. I’m 41 and have almost 19 years with MFD. I have already had 1 shoulder surgery and will have to have another one before I retire, my back hurts almost all the time from falls and lifting patients that if I told you how much some of them weigh you wouldn’t believe me. So I say to you come on down get in one of the academies and see if you still feel the same way in 25 years.

      • Bill

        TGE73, Thanks for your service but you made the desicion to join the force. As Mayor, I’ll change things, you can join the force, do 25 on the streets and the remainder of your term until retirement at a desk job or community service. I think a lot of the Police and Fire are the other guys/gals on the High School teams who were never going to make it to College and settled for the same sort of camaraderie that High School sports has to offer. At one point, I too thought about working for the DreamBenefits but changed my mind. I like to work and couldn’t imagine what I’d do retiring at 50-60. Mowing Grass, Guarding Walgreens, Painting houses doesn’t appeal to me.

    • Karen

      That is because your silly desk job is not very physically demanding. The pension is their money, they worked for it even though they have sworn an oath to protect ungrateful , uneducated people like you!

      • Bill

        Karen, I walk 6-8 miles a day in my job. I stand about 4 hours a day. I bring my own food, pay for my phone, computer and I work 60-80 hours a week. Nah!

    • Dave

      Corporal?! MPD has a corporal rank? Before you start with your anecdotal examples that are more fiction than a Harry Potter novel you might want to check your facts. Just saying.

    • tiredofcapitalists

      Bill, if someone from the public sector told you they coveted your private sector pay, you’d call them a communist for wanting what you have. Yet, you hypocritically choose not to recognize that different jobs are -different- when you eye benefits you don’t have. Police and Fire have statistically proven shorter lifespans due the stress of their jobs. That is why they have a 25 year retirement. With a 401(a or k) they have to work in a crippling job till the day they -die-, and long past the point they are effective at their jobs. (Also, you can rely on your 401(k) along with Social Security, and we can’t. Also, your higher salary means a higher 401(k). ) You don’t get to pull the ‘that’s what you signed on for’ card without acknowledging that what we signed on for are the retirement and health care benefits, and those are being stripped from us to feed corporate greed and PILOT programs. Your greed is making you intentionally obtuse to the problem of being lied to, and having contractual agreements stripped after we held up our end.

      Further, there is no private sector equal to Police and Fire. The closest thing would be security contracts in Iraq and other third world countries (similar to Memphis), but I don’t see you advocating for 200K per year salaries for police and fire.

      Lastly, if these changes happen and are not overturned by citizen support, you’re going to lose me, and all the other ‘me’s’. I have a bachelor’s degree, and graduate level course work. I’ve worked diligently, and intelligently for the city, without an overzealous approach that has me overstep law, policy, and conscience. When I, and my fellows leave, you’ll be left with those who are in the news headlines, and then you’ll realize that if you want safety and care in one of the most violent, outrageous cities in America, you greedy capitalists should expect to pay a premium.

      • Paul Fischer

        If it weren’t for capitalists and taxpayers who aren’t government employees, these government employees wouldn’t have a job and salary. By the way, I have a Master’s degree, will be graduating with my final degree in May 2016 and leaving Shelby County so this people like you can continue to drive out the producers and the only thing you will have left in Memphis are leaches and parasites (i.e. government employees and welfare queens).

      • tiredofcapitalists

        Sounds like we’re both leaving, Paul. But, I’m sure you’ll choose a place with a healthy tax base, and either a low crime rate to keep yourself safe, or a well-compensated police force to keep you safe. You’re won’t be able to say it’s more expensive to live here than those other places, though, so being driven away for economical hardship, in your case, seems a bit of a stretch.

  • Bill

    Since you’re Boycotting, why not get the list of Pilot companies in Memphis and Shelby County and Boycott them, I do.
    Contact both Mayors offcies and ask for copies. You’d be suprised by who’s scartching the City Councils back. Myron needs to shut his hole.

      • Bill

        Here you go, it’s about 18 months old.
        AB Mauri Fleischmann’s (ABMF)
        Accredo Health
        AEL (American Esoteric Laboratories)
        Americraft Carton, INC
        Blues City Brewery LLC
        Cargill incorporation
        Cascades Tissue Group TN INC
        Electrolux Home Products, Inc.
        Evergreen Packaging, Inc.
        FDX Corporation
        Fed Express Flight Simulator Project
        Federal Express
        Federal Express Global Headquarters
        FedEx Supply Chain Services
        Flextronics Logistics USA Inc
        Ford Motor Company
        Ford Motor Company
        Franklin Sports
        General Motors Services
        Impact Innovations
        Intermodal Cartage
        International Paper
        International Sourcing Co
        Jabil Circuit
        Jabil Global Services
        Johnson & Johnson
        Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Systems, Inc
        Jordan Anodizing Expansion
        Liquid Container
        Lucite International
        MC Ionic Solutions US, Inc
        “McKesson Corporation
        amendment to 2009 PILOT”
        Medtronic Sofamor Danek
        Memphis Specialized Operation, Inc
        Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc
        Monogram Food Solutions, LLC
        New Breed Logistics Inc
        Nike (Amendment to 2003 PILOT)
        Nike Tennessee
        Nucor Steel
        Nuvasive INC
        Onyx Medical Corporation
        Owen Corning
        Pacific Paper
        PENN Specialty
        Pfizer Inc GFSS
        PharMedium Healthcare Corporation
        PMC Biogenix Inc
        Pratt Industries
        Praxair Inc
        Riviana Foods
        Saint Francis Hospital
        Service Masters
        Smith & Nephew
        Southern Steel Company
        Trane U.S Inc
        US Food service Inc
        Valero Refining Company

  • Paul Fischer

    I would love to see a list of these businesses that this clown wants people to boycott so I can go spend some of my hard earned money with a few of them.

      • Paul Fischer

        And I hope you learn to write a coherent blog post without screaming and learn how to properly disagree with someone who has a different point of view. Accept the fact that the taxpayers are leaving and taking their money with them, along with their drive, education and motivation with them, and yes, I am leaving after graduation as well with my RN-MPH degrees.

  • Tez

    Please list the businesses that are supported by the chamber of commerce. I will not be a patron of any of them.

  • 100

    Save your hard earned money. You are going to need it to buy your own fire extinguishers and firearms to watch your own back. Police and fire are not only going to protest businesses. They are also going to resist the tremendous work load that will be dropped on them for much less money and benefits than what they worked their agreed
    upon. I have family who work for the city and I have heard how they will NOT work hard for unappreciative pompous buttholes! No one can make them work hard. This city needs hard work to survive. They are not going to do it any longer. Wanna see what cheap service gets you? Burning homes and noninvestiged crimes. Then what will you do fire them and hire new people right. But who is going to train them…you . . them . . . or the council clowns who won’t take a pay cut and do unethical contracts????

    • Who do you turn 2

      Do you think this comment will make the people of Memphis want to support your cause, think again, you may make the inane and pejorative people that comment on here and don’t live in the city happy, but rest assured you are still a public servant, don’t let your acerbity have the helpless little woman or a child whom can’t defend themself because of your allowance of reckless crime; get hurt…. or a family burn out….. because of lack of altruism!!!! We are all listen and watching. We can all as citizen of Memphis turn our backs as well, whichever way it goes. We are all small here keep that in mind and fight a smart fight.

      • Karen

        Using big words you don’t understand doesn’t make you look any smarter, which you obviously are not! These heroes are better than you or me because they give their lives to save ungrateful people like you!!


    There must be priorities to remain regardless. Just look at the horrible news eports channel 3 loves to highlight. 5 people shot the last 24 hours!!!!! Police don’t catch all the criminals, butlook at how MANY cases MPD handles. Those crooks ddon’t turn themselves in. Them boys in blue save this city from ruin. Pay them or we’re gonna look like Iraq around here!


    Well what’s not right is for administration to steal money from a pension that has already been earned by deserving people. If times are so tough and all then make changes for new hires or fairly new, not those old guys I saw on walkers down at City Hall on the news. It just ain’t right but the lil mayor and his boyfriends Shea and thad obviously don’t care about the future of the city. Who in the hell keeps voting for them?

  • Carter

    I would like a list of these businesses so that I can make sure to support them even more now. Mike Williams should be arrested and charged with attempted economic terrorism.

    • blahblahblah

      You are an idiot. Do you want to have everyone arrested that has ever boycotted a business? Which one do you own or work for….just so we know.

    • Dave

      Economic terrorism?! That sounds like some rubbish from animal farm…you know the allegory for socialism? Geez. Free market is just that. Free. If somebody doesn’t want to spend their money at a business so be it. It happens all the time. Boycotts happen all the time too. You don’t even realize you’re doing it. Let’s use this example. Say you go to a restaurant and the food and service was horrible. Then you say you aren’t going back. That is a boycott. Regardless of the reasoning if one chooses to not spend money in a place it is a boycott. Simple as that.

  • Hugh

    The idea of boycotting is RIDICULOUS. Let me get this straight–you’re hurting so you want to hurt others, too? That’s not right. Give me a list of the businesses–looks like we will be eating out everyday for some time. Hold your head high, Chamber. You’re doing the RIGHT THING FOR ALL OF US.

    • Karen

      Better save that money to put out your own fires, take some self defense classes and learn some first aid and CPR!! You’re gonna need it! The rest you can save for your increased insurance rates!

  • Support MPD & MFD

    If the city is hurting for money so badly, why doesn’t AC cut some of the 400+ high-level appointed jobs that have been given to his & King Willie’s friends as a reward for their support? Next question, the city stopped funding the schools to save money so where is all the money they were going to save? I support the police & fire departments & support them 100%.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    sounds to me lIke the usual polItIcal bs just around the corner from electIon tIme any cIty usa

  • Hugh

    You’re right it’s not 1920. That’s why these cuts need to happen. Get with the times. No taxpayer should be forced to fund a program that is better than the ones they get to choose from.

  • EnjoyYourObamaCare

    Welcome to the world of ObamaCare! How do you like it? You better say that you love it.

    The liberal democrat media has taught us that to dislike ObamaCare = Racist. So, if you hate ObamaCare, you are a racist.

    All you racists need to stop complaining and enjoy your ObamaCare.

  • Arguenot

    I would like some clarification please. I do not know if the Memphis system is like other large public safety organizations, but if so, it would make a huge difference.
    Many large organizations self pay, as in no Medicare or SSI come out of their checks. What happens instead is that employees pay into a City managed fund. So, once retired, they are not eligible for the federal benefits like SSI and Medicare, they are only allowed to benefits from the funds they have paid into all the years of their employment.
    Is this the case with Memphis? Because, if so, it sounds like through mismanagement and possibly corruption, those funds paid into the system, are no longer there. Has anyone looked into that? Has it been misused to fund other projects? Where did this money go?
    This may be their own money that they are attempting to access, just like those retirees on SSI, or private sector 401K’s.
    If so, I stand by what is right, and what is right is these loyal employees receive the benefits they have paid for.

    • Long Gone

      As far as a Pension goes that’s what the city of Memphis did. The changes they’re making is to the healthcare. This is just moving everyone over to Barrycare. You can not be eligible for Medicare and get Barrycare. Meaning you are either on Medicare or Barrycare but not both. Five million of us have already gone through this.

  • Long Gone

    For all the crying that going on. You have to look at what this is.
    It’s the city’s attempt to move you all to Barrycare. It’s the same thing I went through in October. First you get letters saying your plan been canceled. Then come the “new” plan rates, They’re double some time triple what you use to pay. Then you’ll get the word that subsidies are available, based on your income. These are “ONLY” available from the Barrycare market place. You have to apply through the marketplace to get insurance with the subsidies. Anyone making over 70,000 gets no subsidies. You will have to verify income. As someone said above welcome to Barrycare. Oh, yeah where were you in October when Five million of us went through this?

  • Karen

    Yea Bill sounds like your job is real tough. They also pay for their own food, cable, phone etc. I don’t think walking 6-8 hours a day compares with running into burning buildings. Oh and Paul Phisher, thanks for the heads up that you are in school to be a nurse. Hope you never work in an ER with that kind of attitude and just exactly where am I screaming? Sorry you can’t understand proper English. Hey good luck passing boards! Looks like you’re going to need it.

  • Tammy Wallace

    I am tired of paying high taxes for workers who clearly only care about their own well being. By all accounts you’d think fire and police think their jobs are the *only* important ones. Not so. It takes all kinds to make the world operate safely and smoothly, and if not for the taxpayer, none of them would have jobs or they’d be working private and have dealt with these kinds of changes ages ago. I hope someone helps the retirees with their healthcare increases, be it federal subsidies or some insurance company coming in and taking over, but moving forward, these cuts and changes are necessary. Simple as that.

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