30 March 2012

Detroit Negotiating with Unions

Story first appeared in The Detroit News.
Detroit-- The latest plan to keep Detroit from an emergency manager unveiled Thursday includes tough new terms for city employee unions that labor leaders vowed to fight.  This has piqued the interest of Dearborn Labor and Employment Lawyers in the area.
The City Council on Thursday got a first look at a proposed financial agreement crafted by state officials. The plan calls for negotiating or imposing tough new union contracts by July 16, but includes no new money requested by the Mayor to help the city restructure its finances.
Reaction was swift from union leaders, who said the proposal is more about politics than saving money. The chief negotiator for AFSCME Council 25, said their coalition of 30 unions have brokered significant savings with the mayor. Those agreements have yet to be approved by the City Council, and sources have said state officials don't think the concessions go far enough.  Without proper Union provisions, a Dearborn Labor and Employment Lawyer may be called in to review the facts.
The goal would be to build off a single template for all unions, including police and fire. The contracts would call for:
Promotions based on merit, not seniority, for some positions.
Restricted bumping rights and permission to outsource.
Alter work rules to support the city's financial restructuring.
Defined contribution retirement health care benefit for new hires. This opens up the possibility for addition of Home Healthcare Supplies to the template.
Consolidated departments to achieve cost savings.
An earlier version of the proposal union officials obtained Thursday included a provision to ban unions from suing or filing grievances over terms of the contract. That phrasing was removed from later versions. Union leaders said that provision would have devastated their representation of employees.  Local Dearborn Labor and Employment Lawyers are gearing up for proper defense and representation of factory employees.
A State Treasury Department spokesman defended the proposals.
A report this week from the state financial review team overseeing Detroit's finances indicated city officials have overstated potential savings from the earlier negotiated union concessions.
City officials said the proposed adjustments would save $102 million for fiscal year 2012 and $258 million in fiscal year 2013, states the review team's report.
The Chief Negotiator said the savings the mayor and the coalition of 30 unions negotiated are real and the severe proposal put forth Thursday isn't necessary. He said the city spent $2.1 million to verify the savings with a third party, Ernst & Young.
The Michigan Governor to date has shied away from battling with unions, despite pushes from Republicans nationwide over cost-cutting measures some call anti-labor. Indiana in January became the first manufacturing state to adopt so-called right-to-work laws, joining 22 states that allow employees at unionized businesses to opt out of paying dues.  Indianapolis Labor and Employment Lawyers followed the legislation process closely.
Ohio and Wisconsin have passed legislation limiting collective bargaining. Arizona is considering legislation to require annual approval by workers to deduct union dues from paychecks. And Utah is considering a bill to limit collective bargaining for wages and benefits.
Ballot fights are looming over right-to-work initiatives in several states, including Michigan. Unions in Michigan also are pushing several ballot initiatives for November, including one that would put collective bargaining rights for home health providers in the state constitution.

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