Detroit city workers denounce planned concessions

Detroit City Council announces cuts to workers' pay, benefits; workers fill Monday's meeting to contest

Author: Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Jul 16 2012 05:06:34 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 16 2012 05:27:41 PM EDT
Detroit City Council meeting
DETROIT -

Detroit City Council meeting Detroit city workers packed the City Council room to hear the bad news on Monday, and another 100 more sat in an overflow room.

They waited to hear the dramatic changes in pay and benefits, all being made to keep the city afloat, according to those backing a consent agreement with the state of Michigan.

"It may not be fair but this is necessary," said Chris Brown, Detroit's chief operating officer. "We are following a process which we laid out to the financial advisory board."

All city workers will be forced to take a 10 percent pay cut and they will no longer get furlough days in exchange. Under work rule change, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee could put officers on 12-hour shifts.

"The additional benefit to officers is they get 14 days off a month ... that the city gets more man hours work from the officers," Godbee said.

More: Detroit City in Crisis

Pensions would no longer carry cost of living adjustments. The plan would be closed to new hires and there would be an increase in age and service requirement.

City workers would pay 20 percent of their health care premiums and retirees would lose vision and dental coverage.

"It's not a Cadillac but it's a fully-loaded Buick compared to what's out there," said Jack Martin, the city's new chief financial officer.

The City Council members can vote on the concessions, but the entity has no power to stop them from taking effect.

"A councilperson said, 'You get what you pay for,'" said Al Garrett, of AFSCME Council 25. "These men and women are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after seeing bodies burned up and some of the horrific conditions that we see every day. We should be embracing them moving forward."