AFSCME

Politics & Government
12:17 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Detroit pensioners, unions can appeal bankruptcy

Detroit's skyline.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will allow appeals to Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility ruling, The Detroit Free Press reported.

Detroit’s largest union – AFSCME Council 25 – and the city’s two pension funds – Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System and the General Retirement System – are among the creditors who filed an appeal to Judge Steven Rhodes’ December ruling that Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

According to the Freep’s Nathan Bomey and Matt Helms, Detroit’s bankruptcy case would continue as the appeal case works through the courts.

The central argument for the union and pension funds is that the city did not negotiate “in good faith” prior to filing for bankruptcy, meaning the city and state "rushed" to bankruptcy court.

Rhodes, in his ruling to approve Detroit's bankruptcy, determined that good faith negotiations were not possible under the circumstances.

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Education
7:30 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Lansing school buses won't be privatized

Lansing school board president Peter Spadafore (left) talks with Dan Hamilton with AFSCME 25
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing school district will continue to operate its own buses next year.

The school board decided Thursday not to go with a private bus company.

Supporters say privatizing the bus service would save the Lansing school district $5 million over the next five years, primarily because the district would not have to replace much of its aging bus fleet.

But school board president Peter Spadafore says now is not the time to privatize the bus service serving thousands of capital city school children.

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Education
10:46 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Lansing school board delays decision on privatizing school bus service

Dozens of Lansing school bus drivers and their supporters showed up at last night's school board meeting to oppose a plan to hire a private company to provide bus service to district students.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing school board has put off a decision on whether to privatize the district’s bus service.

School officials say the proposal would save the district five million dollars over the next five years, primarily by not having to pay to replace dozens of aging school buses.

But the district’s unionized bus drivers raised questions about the plan.

Peter Spadafore is the school board president. He says giving the union one week to spell out its concerns is a good idea.

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Politics & Government
9:44 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Gov. Snyder will answer questions on Detroit bankruptcy

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has agreed to answer questions in a deposition about his decision to let Detroit file for bankruptcy protection.

Attorneys for Snyder and other state officials had been resisting testifying based on executive privilege. They've now changed course and informed Judge Steven Rhodes during a hearing Tuesday.

Unions opposed to the bankruptcy say Snyder's sworn testimony is important. They say Detroit is ineligible for Chapter 9, a process that could let the city shed billions in long-term debt.

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Politics & Government
9:49 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Detroit union leaders: "Bankruptcy was the strategy all along"

Union leaders say Detroit is in bankruptcy court because “that was the strategy all along.”

They accuse Governor Snyder and Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr of “sham” negotiations, saying they were never able to actually sit down and bargain with Orr before he filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week.

“We were disheartened by the fact that we were told negotiations were going to take place, that never took place,” says Al Garrett, President of AFSCME Council 25.”Instead, they ran to a bankruptcy court.”

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Politics & Government
11:52 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Michigan prisoners may soon be eating ARAMARK meals

Michigan's Prisoners may see food from ARAMARK.
Simon Brass Flickr

About 400 food service state employees may soon be out of work at Michigan’s prisons.

That’s after Michigan reversed its previous decision NOT to privatize the contract.

The original company bids did not meet the state benchmark of at least 5 percent savings.

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Politics & Government
2:47 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Jesse Jackson, EM opponents promise "a major mass demonstration" in Detroit

Jesse Jackson

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law are gearing up for a long, hard fight against it.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson joined Congressman John Conyers and others in Detroit Friday to outline some of their plans.

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Politics & Government
11:56 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Bonus payments stir controversy in nearly-broke Detroit

News of some Detroit city employees receiving raises and bonuses is raising eyebrows, as the city struggles to stave off a possible state-appointed emergency manager.

Union officials, Detroit City Council members and others are asking why some city officials apparently received raises and longevity pay last week.

Longevity pay is a kind of bonus provided to employees based on seniority. Mayor Dave Bing eliminated the perk for union workers in 2010, and had promised to eliminate it for all city employees.

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Politics & Government
12:22 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Some striking Detroit water department workers to be fired

34 striking Detroit water department workers have been suspended and will be fired, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department confirmed Tuesday.

The workers believed to have initiated the strike were notified by letter from DWSD director Sue McCormick, according to a statement issued by the water department.

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Politics & Government
11:55 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Defying federal judge's order, Detroit water department workers stay on strike

A striking worker outside the Detroit wastewater plant Monday.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Defying a federal judge’s order, Detroit water department workers continued to strike Monday night.

Many rank-and-file workers at Detroit’s wastewater treatment plant walked off the job after AFSCME Local 207 member authorized a strike Sunday.

Workers say the strike is a last stand against what they call attempts to dismantle the city’s water department—and the union.

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Detroit
2:55 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Detroit water system employees strike

DETROIT (AP) - Employees of the Detroit-area water system that serves four in 10 Michigan residents have gone on strike to protest plans to eliminate most of their jobs through privatization or other measures.

The union for 950 employees of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says its members went on strike about 10 a.m. Sunday, setting up a picket line at a wastewater treatment plant in southwest Detroit's Delray neighborhood.

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Politics & Government
9:08 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Happiness, relief for unions as emergency manager law heads to the ballot

A Detroit Free Press article about the emergency manager referendum decorated the front door of AFSCME Council 25 in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Public employee union leaders are ecstatic that a referendum challenging the state’s emergency manager law will be on the November ballot.

They’ve fiercely opposed the law in large part because emergency managers have the power to alter or throw out collectively-bargained contracts.

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Politics & Government
7:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Contract showdown looms between Bing, unions

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and city union representatives appear to be headed for a showdown over contract negotiations.

The heart of this disagreement is Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.

There’s language in there that allows the mayor to impose union contracts after previous contracts expire. Most city workers’ contracts expired June 1.

But in a scathing letter to Bing, union officials say it doesn’t exempt the city from bargaining with unions—something they haven’t done since the two sides reached tentative agreements in February.

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Politics
9:57 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Detroit unions ratify new contracts

AFSCME Council 25 President Al Garrett, at a recent rally to overturn Public Act 4

A big coalition of about 30 unions representing Detroit city workers has ratified a new contract.

The workers gave up a lot, including a 10% pay cut, a major health care reorganization, and switching from traditional pensions to defined-contribution retirement plans.

But for a variety of reasons, it’s unclear whether it’s enough to help the city avoid state intervention.

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Politics
12:16 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Emergency manager law opponents, armed with petitions, head to Lansing

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law will descend on Lansing with petitions Wednesday.

The coalition fighting Public Act 4 says they’ve collected more than 218,000 signatures to put the measure up for voter referendum in November.

They need the state to certify about 161,000 of those signatures for that to happen—and for the law to be suspended until the vote.

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Budget Protests
12:08 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Snyder stands firm against protests

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)
(courtesy of the Michigan governor's office)

Governor Rick Snyder says he respects the views of people protesting against his budget proposals. Many people have crowded the Capitol lawn this week to stand against Snyder’s plan to tax pensions. The governor says he understands their frustration, but he says a tax on pensions – done the right way – is only fair.

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