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45 years after King was killed supporting them, Memphis sanitation workers fighting for jobs

  • a6c62b363aebf60b2d0f6a706700ab5a.jpg

    FILE -In this March 28, 1968 file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy, right, lead a march on behalf of striking Memphis, Tenn., sanitation workers. Forty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed supporting a historic sanitation workers strike in Memphis, the city’s garbage and trash collectors are fighting to hold on to jobs that some city leaders want to hand over to a private company. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Sam Melhorn, File) (The Associated Press)

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    Alvin Turner, the Rev. Leslie Moore, Elmore Nickleberry and Baxter Leach, from left, pose for a photo at the headquarters of Local 1733 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on Thursday, March 14, 2013 in Memphis, Tenn. The men participated in a sanitation workers strike in 1968 that drew the support of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4 of that year. The poster includes the strike's rallying cry, "I am a man." (AP Photos/Adrian Sainz) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE -In this March 29, 1968 file photo, striking Memphis sanitation workers march past Tennessee National Guard troops with fixed bayonets during a 20-block march to City Hall, one day after a similar march erupted in violence, leaving one person dead and several injured. Forty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed supporting a historic sanitation workers strike in Memphis, the city’s garbage and trash collectors are fighting to hold on to jobs that some city leaders want to hand over to a private company. (AP Photo/Charlie Kelly, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE -In this Friday afternoon, March 29, 1968 file photo, striking Memphis sanitation workers, gathering for a new march clean the sidewalks and gutters near their meeting hall using placards printed for Thursday's march as scoops for debris in Memphis, Tenn. Forty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed supporting a historic sanitation workers strike in Memphis, the city’s garbage and trash collectors are fighting to hold on to jobs that some city leaders want to hand over to a private company. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE -In this March 29, 1968 file photo, Striking sanitation workers and their supporters are flanked by bayonet-wielding National Guard troops and armored vehicles during a march on City Hall in Memphis, Tenn., one day after a similar march erupted in violence, leaving one person dead and several injured. Forty-five years after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed supporting a historic sanitation workers strike in Memphis, the city’s garbage and trash collectors are fighting to hold on to jobs that some city leaders want to hand over to a private company. (AP Photo/Charlie Kelly, File) (The Associated Press)

Forty-five years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed supporting a historic sanitation workers strike in Memphis, the city's garbage and trash collectors are fighting to hold on to jobs some city leaders want to hand over to a private company.

Thursday marks the 45th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination in 1968. King was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel when he was felled by a rifle bullet fired by James Earl Ray.

As Memphis residents honor King with a planned march, the union that represents the city's sanitation workers is trying to stave off efforts to privatize solid waste collection.

City council members who favor privatization say it can save the city $8 million to $15 million in a tough economy.

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