On Monday, the Detroit Police Officers Association said that the police union will file an appeal with Michigan courts to oppose the pay cuts and healthcare benefit changes being imposed by Mayor David Bing. The police union alleges that Detroit police officers and firefighters are among the 10,700 city workers who would be affected by the pay cuts being imposed without any negotiations by the Mayor. Last week, a city financial advisory board approved the Detroit Mayor’s proposal for 10% pay cut of city workers, which would save $102 million for the city.
Earlier in March, the city had agreements with most of the 48 unions representing city workers to save $68 million. However, the state of Michigan concluded that it was insufficient to bail Detroit out of its financial predicaments including its $7.9 billion long-term debt and multimillion-dollar budget deficit.
Joe Duncan, the president of the police union said that the police have already given the city enough concessions including changes to pension benefits last year. Duncan told Reuters, “What type of individual are you going to have applying to be a police officer in Detroit when we are already 50th on the list of pay for the biggest 50 cities in the United States?” Duncan stressed, “We want the right to negotiate.”
According to the Detroit Police Officers Association, the court filing would seek to overturn the decision of a Court of Claims judge made last week, refusing to extend a temporary injunction that prevented the pay cuts from being immediately imposed.
Until recent times, police and firefighters in Detroit were exempt from the layoffs of city employees used to reduce city expenses. According to the April 4 consent agreement between the state of Michigan and the city, the Mayor of Detroit can impose pay cuts on workers whose contracts expire. The contracts with the police officers’ union as well those with about half of the 48 city unions expired on June 30.