Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Redeux News: Bing Warns Detroit Unions

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing

On Tuesday, October 6, 2009 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing stood with a team of union leaders and warned unions that haven't settled that they have "30 days max" to settle their contracts or he will impose terms on them agreed to by other unions.

Bing said the deficit remains a moving target, but is around $275 million to $300 million.

Bing said it may take three to five years for the city to eliminate the deficit, and it certainly won't be accomplished this fiscal year.

The mayor said he will have a better idea of what reductions will be made in 30-60 days when he knows the outcome of labor negotiations. Union officials are resisting Bing's cuts, and AFSCME Local 207 plan to protest the proposed cuts in front of City Hall tomorrow afternoon.

Earlier today Bing proposed to City Council a budget amendment that would apply an annual 26-day furlough, the equivalent of a 10% salary cut, for non-union executive and legislative branch city employees and 36th District Court employees. The cuts would save the city $7 million.

If approved by the council, the ordinance will become effective immediately and expire in June 2011 with a possible six-month extension. The council, slated to vote on the ordinance next week, will hold a public hearing on the ordinance at 9 a.m. July 28.

The city has about 50 unions representing about 13,000 workers. So far 14 unions have agreed to contract terms including a 10 percent pay cut among other benefit concessions. Concessions, he said, are "temporary" but layoffs will be permanent.

According to the Detroit News, Bing said every day the unions don't ratify the contract offers, the city loses money, although he declined to give a specific number or range. The city, he said, is already planning cuts for next year's fiscal budget and wants to come close to plugging its financial hole.

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