Twelve Additional Recipients Identified For 1968 Sanitation Strike Commemorative Grants
The City of Memphis has identified 12 additional recipients who are set to receive commemorative grants awarded as part of Mayor Jim Strickland’s initiative to bring better financial security to full-time sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968.
The initiative, announced in early July, provided the grants to sanitation workers — who are not participants in the City’s pension plan.
“It’s imperative that the City of Memphis do the right thing by these men who sacrificed so much on the mission that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to our city in the spring of 1968,” Mayor Strickland said in July. The grants were initially set for $50,000, but increased to $70,000 after a City Council vote.
Fourteen employees were awarded the grant during the July announcement. Since that time, 36 additional people have come forward to claim the grant. Of that group, the Division of Human Resources has verified 12 additional recipients. All of the recipients and those who were denied have been notified by mail of the verification process.
To qualify for the grant, recipients needed to be 1) full-time employees for the sanitation department in Feb. 1968, 2) eligible to retire with at least 25 years of full-time service, and 3) not a pension recipient. Anyone who was denied the grant has until Oct. 1 to send additional documentation to Josh Didawick, Benefits Manager 2714 Union Extended, 5th floor, Suite 100 Memphis, TN 38112, to verify eligibility.
“When the grants were first awarded, we anticipated there could be additional recipients and we let the City Council know that we would likely be coming back to them to approve the funding,” said Ursula Madden, the city’s chief communications officer.
The additional grants will cost approximately $1.1 million. The funds will come from the City’s reserves, which has more than $90 million. The new grants are subject to City Council approval and are planned to appear on the council’s agenda Sept. 19.