DETROIT — Union leaders in Detroit Public Schools say they will go to court over emergency financial manager Roy Roberts’ order to impose $81 million in wage concessions beginning this month, the Detroit Free Press reported.

All 10,000 employees in the district — union and nonunion, including Roberts — will take the 10 percent pay cut as of Aug. 23, as well as begin to pay 20 percent of the cost of their health care benefits as of Sept. 1, the Free Press reported.

This is the first time that Michigan’s new emergency financial manager law has been used to modify school district collective bargaining agreements, according to the Free Press. In all, eight union contracts will be modified, the report said.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon gave Roberts permission to enact the cuts, as required, and Gov. Rick Snyder expressed support, the Free Press reported, while Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson said the union will file suit.

DPS currently has a $327 million deficit, Roberts said, according to the Free Press. The new cuts replace an earlier Termination Incentive Plan under which teachers deferred $250 per paycheck to the district, collectible upon leaving the district.

A petition drive to repeal the emergency financial manager law through a ballot initiative is under way, the Free Press reported.

SOURCE:

Detroit Free Press, “Detroit Public Schools workers to see a 10% pay cut,” July 30, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Acts of God: Don’t like the EFM law? There’s an alternative: Rein in Government employee unions,” April 20, 2011

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