Mediators in Detroit bankruptcy reach tentative deal with city's unions

Apr 28, 2014

The city of Detroit has reached a tentative deal with more than a dozen unions that represent thousands of workers in the city.

Mediators for the federal court overseeing Detroit’s reorganization under Chapter 9 bankruptcy announced the tentative deal this morning.

They say the coalition of unions includes 13 civilian unions and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union. AFSCME is the city’s largest union.

The mediators say the city and the unions have agreed on the "major aspects" of a five-year collective bargaining agreement. The deal still has to be approved by the federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes and by the union's members.

Details of the deal will be released once it’s approved. Chad Livengood of the Detroit News reports he spoke with a source with knowledge of the agreement:

The deal will include significant wage restorations for union members who saw their wages frozen in 2010 and received a 10 percent pay cut in 2012, a person briefed on the talks said.

Toward the end, the final issues in the talks included resolving issues involving work rules, jury service and how overtime is calculated, the source said.

Livengood says the deal takes some heavy lifting off of Mayor Mike Duggan’s plate. If approved, he would have a five-year deal in place with the city’s unions going forward.

Matt Helms and Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press reminded readers that the deal is dependent on the so-called “grand bargain” – a deal which could bring more than $800 million to the city from private philanthropists and the state. The private donors have agreed to the deal. The state has yet to pass legislation.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, leaving open the question of whether the unions agreed to concessions that will help Gov. Rick Snyder gain support in the legislature for the support of $350 million he has proposed for the city’s bankruptcy restructuring.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek is covering this story and will have more for us later today.