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Judge dismisses union suit against Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that labor unions filed to challenge the 2011 decision by the city of Memphis to cut employees' wages 4.6 percent.

U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays on Monday wrote that there's no evidence the mayor promised to fully fund any agreement between the city and the unions.

The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1nocxJM ) reported a trial had been set for Sept. 15. The ruling ends the case for now.

The ruling calls into question the validity of the city's agreements with unions, which had argued that the wage cut violated terms of contracts negotiated with the city. Mays wrote that those contracts don't apply unless the Memphis City Council chooses to fund them.

During a tough budget season in 2011, the City Council approved an annual spending plan that included a 4.6 percent pay cut. City officials say the cut helped to prevent layoffs.

The City Council reversed the pay cuts in 2013.

A total of 13 unions representing several thousand workers filed suit. They included the Memphis Police Association and the Memphis Fire Fighters Association.

The police union issued a statement Wednesday saying it is disappointed with the ruling.

"What has been learned from this process is that this City Administration has no problem breaking its commitments and promises," the statement said. "Unfortunately, not all wrongs have a legal remedy."

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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