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Memphis firefighters pose with 'will work for health care' signs

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Firefighters say they're not mocking the homeless in these photos, just using similar signs to send a message. (Photo Source: Facebook) Firefighters say they're not mocking the homeless in these photos, just using similar signs to send a message. (Photo Source: Facebook)
Firefighters posed in front of Memphis landmarks with carefully-worded signs, but Memphis may be the place some of them decide to leave. (Photo Source: Facebook) Firefighters posed in front of Memphis landmarks with carefully-worded signs, but Memphis may be the place some of them decide to leave. (Photo Source: Facebook)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Memphis budget cuts prompted a powerful photo shoot, but city employees say there's nothing pretty about their new benefits. Firefighters posed in front of Memphis landmarks with carefully-worded signs, but in the end, Memphis may be the place some of them decide to leave.

In full gear, firefighters hold signs that say "people over profit" and "will work for health care and benefits." But they say they're not mocking the homeless in these photos, just using similar signs to send a message.

"And once I saw them, I felt they were pretty powerful. I think it says a lot," retired firefighter Henry Posey said.

Posey is a recently retired division chief who worked on the force almost 36 years. He's free to say what many firefighters cannot, which is why they covered their faces in photos.

"They're scared of repercussions and retaliation," he said.

Posey believes the city council's decision to slash health care benefits will not only impact retirees.

"They have to make tough decisions between insurance and medicine and food," he said.

He says younger firefighters, still on the frontline, may be forced to find other jobs, although many came to Memphis because of the once lucrative benefits.

"You've got the Houstons, you've got Nashville, Cincinnati, places like that. They're going to come in and cherry pick, and they're going to go off," said Posey.

Posey and others believe all signs point to trouble ahead unless further action is taken.

"I understand there's some tough decision to be made. I believe there's some middle ground," he said.

City CAO George Little says the administration stands behind the benefit changes, but he had no specific comment on the firefighter signs.

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