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City retirees concerned about cuts to health insurance

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File photo (Source: WMC Action News 5) File photo (Source: WMC Action News 5)
To say Childress is unhappy with Memphis City Council's approval of massive cuts to employees and retiree health insurance is an understatement. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) To say Childress is unhappy with Memphis City Council's approval of massive cuts to employees and retiree health insurance is an understatement. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Cody Childress spent 28 years with Memphis Fire Department, retiring as a lieutenant. Now, he says he's being cheated by the city.

"We're easy picking. We're low fruit, and they can reach right up, and grab us, and that's what they're doing," said Childress, who retired in 2012.

To say Childress is unhappy with Memphis City Council's approval of massive cuts to employees and retiree health insurance is an understatement.

"Definitely, we'll have to tighten our budget," he said.

Current city employees say they can't survive with a 24 percent hike in health insurance premiums. And retirees, like Childress, say they can't make it day-to-day paying 100 percent of their premiums.

"It's going up at least $400 a month and that's about 40 percent of my pension that comes in," Childress explained.

He is afraid that with this change in benefits, police officers and firefighters will stay on the job longer just to lessen the impact after retirement.

"You're gonna have 65, 68-year-old firefighters out there, the same with police officers," he said.

The police and fire unions, along with retiree leaders, say they're considering a lawsuit.

"We're hoping fire department union and police union and other unions will file an injunction and freeze it till it goes to court," Childress said.

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