MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The union representing sanitation workers in Memphis is asking for armed security guards at the depots where employees report to work in the morning.
The AFSCME local said the attempted robbery of an employee, who fired back at the robbers, could have been prevented had security guards had guns.
The union told FOX13 they asked for the extra protection six months ago. Those sanitation workers are still worried and baffled that two people actually tried to rob them.
Public employees who union leaders claim have been historically underpaid.
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"I don't know if he was aware, but we don't have a whole lot of money. We are civil servants. We are not here to make a profit. We are here to make a living," said union leader Maurice Spivey.
Spivey explained that this is not the first time someone has tried to rob a sanitation worker at the Bellevue site where dozens of them report to work every morning.
Spivey said another robbery happened last September. The union requested armed security guards patrol the site during the morning hours back then.
"My first conversation with the new director, Mr. Lamar, was specifically the security concerns at that location and nothing has happened," said Spivey.
FOX13 reached out to the Strickland administration. We asked if arming security guards at the sanitation worker depots when employees arrive for work is an option.
A spokesperson said it is something to consider but would not commit to any policy changes.
Spivey told FOX13 if the city does not change policy when it comes to the security guards at the depots – especially the Bellevue location – then his members will have to protect themselves.
"Some of them are taking matters into their own hands to protect themselves," Spivey said.
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