Detroit 'grand bargain' gets first real test Tuesday in Lansing

Union steps in to put money into deal that would backfill pensions, save DIA

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - The so-called "grand bargain," which would backfill Detroit pensions and save the Detroit Institute of Arts, gets its first real test Tuesday in Lansing.

At the same time, there's word that at least one union has stepped up to the plate to put money into the deal. A vote to see whether this deal can be done is imminent. If this can't clear the first hurdle, the deal is going nowhere.

Top sources in Lansing have been saying for months this wasn't going to be easy or pretty to get a bailout of Detroit approved in an election year.

The man tasked with seeing this very delicate dance in Lansing through is John Walsh, the Republican state representative from Livonia.

"It is herding cats on steroids," said Walsh. "There's so many stakeholders in and around Detroit."

Walsh told Local 4 after a whole lot of discussion and some give and take, all 11 bills dealing with Detroit's bailout are ready to face their first challenge.

As that vote is ready to go there is word from Federal Bankruptcy Court the first union willing to put money into this deal has stepped forward. The Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council will contribute cash if Lansing will pass the grand bargain -- a move that may help sway some very reluctant Republicans in the state House.

"Detroit's recovery will require all hands on deck and I am grateful to see these union organizations stepping forward to take a seat at the table," said House Speaker Jase Bolger.

To read Bolger's full statement, click here. A statement from mediators can be found here.

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