Backroom deal could cure the 'Blue Flu' - WNEM TV 5

Backroom deal could cure the 'Blue Flu'

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The number of police officers out sick far exceeds the number of firefighters, but both union leaders are behind a possible fix floated during an important conference call. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) The number of police officers out sick far exceeds the number of firefighters, but both union leaders are behind a possible fix floated during an important conference call. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Thomas Malone met our crews outside fire station 21, which was partly out of service Wednesday because of sick calls. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Thomas Malone met our crews outside fire station 21, which was partly out of service Wednesday because of sick calls. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - As the number of cops calling in sick dropped Thursday to below 500, WMC Action News 5 learned a backroom deal might put police and firefighters back in service.

The number of police officers out sick far exceeds the number of firefighters, but both union leaders are behind a possible fix floated during an important conference call.

Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Thomas Malone met our crews outside fire station 21, which was partly out of service Wednesday because of sick calls.

"I'm optimistic at this point," said Malone.

That's because of a conference call Thursday with city leaders, during which new proposals were presented to end both the so-called "Blue Flu"" and "Red Rash." The two supposed demonstrations resulted in more than 600 sick calls this week among police and firefighters protesting benefit cuts. On Thursday police sick calls dropped to 471.

"Now we're getting down to where folks are putting the real issues on the table and putting their real feelings on the table," said Malone.

In addition to Malone, city CAO George Little was on the conference call along with Councilman Myron Lowery, Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong, Memphis Fire Department Director Alvin Benson, and Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams.

All parties involved are keeping details close to the vest, but the possible solution is not a property tax increase.

"And I think they're taking a look at the feasibility of it and to see if everybody at the table is going to be in agreement with it," said Williams.

Folks at city hall were not available to talk about this possible compromise, which would likely require city council approval as well, as of Thursday night.

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