Has the 'Red Rash' begun? - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Has the 'Red Rash' begun?

"Blue Flu" sick calls peaked at 552 on Tuesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file) "Blue Flu" sick calls peaked at 552 on Tuesday. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)

(WMC) - With a slight uptick in Memphis Fire Department sick calls on Wednesday, rumors are swirling that firefighters may be joining a silent protest against city employee health care cuts.

Some question whether the proverbial "Red Rash" sickout has begun since the fire department had to put four trucks out of service Wednesday because 65 firefighters called out sick.

An additional 16 firefighters were already on long term sick leave.

The day before, three trucks were put out of service due to sick calls.

The fire department takes one truck out of service for every 24 firefighters who call out sick.

This comes as the number of police officers on sick leave began to recede on Wednesday.

"Blue Flu"
sick calls peaked at 552 on Tuesday.

The mayor held a news conference Tuesday warning employees that the city would strictly uphold it's sick leave abuse policy.

Dozens of public safety workers and their families, who were already protesting at a nearby park, showed up at the news conference unexpectedly and grilled the mayor and administration with a series of questions about their health care concerns.

The news conference ended peacefully.

Memphis Fire Department Director Alvin Benson confirmed a spike in sick calls, which can cause a compromise in response times, Wednesday during a press conference. Click here to read more about that: http://bit.ly/VMdxNU.

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