Detroit teachers rally for 'fair contract talks' with emergency manager

Detroit teachers rally at Fisher Building to show Emergency Manager Roberts 'they are ready to start talks'

Published On: Jul 19 2012 03:49:32 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 19 2012 05:49:11 PM EDT

Detroit teachers rallied Thursday at the Fisher Building against Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts' "unfair wages and working conditions."

The teachers union says Roberts imposed the changes without negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. Roberts announced the three-year contract earlier this month. Under the new contract, teachers receive a 10 percent reduction in pay. Teachers keep the same health and dental benefits but lose sick pay and cashout upon retirement. Maternity leave was reduced to 12 weeks.

Watch: Uncut: Detroit teachers rally at Fisher Building

Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers union, had said the union planned to ignore Roberts' contract.

Read: Detroit Public School teachers get 3-year contract

“It’s time to right this wrong,” Johnson said in a news release. “For several years, Detroit school employees have taken massive concessions, and their sacrifices have flown under the radar. It’s time to start a conversation and take teachers' concerns into account when negotiating a contract.”

Teachers rallied with signs and performed a mock parent-teacher conference of Roberts' work with Detroit teachers. The union said teachers have made concessions in each of the past seven years.

"We are taking a stand for what’s right, for Detroit teachers as well as students," said Priscilla Robinson, a teacher at Detroit Chrysler Elementary. "By not providing a safe environment and adequate teaching tools, Detroit schools are being set up for failure. We’re taking a stand to ensure every student receives a quality education."