ROMULUS, Mich. (WXYZ) - Many of Detroit’s creditors expected ugly news as they entered a meeting held by Detroit’s emergency manager, but unions say they’ve already accepted enough concessions.
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr says the pain of fixing the city’s $17-billion debt problem will be felt equally by all its creditors. While more than half of that is made up of labor costs, unions say they’ve been helping the city for years by taking cuts in recent contracts.
“The only one who has been sacrificing at this point has been the city employees,” said Ed McNeil, the chief negotiator for a coalition of unions. “They’re the only ones taking the cuts, the only ones taking the furloughs, the only ones getting hit the hardest.”
The emergency manager says he has some wiggle room, but not much. And for Detroit firefighters that could be a double whammy. Not only would they suffer cuts to healthcare and pension under today’s proposal, but 800 firefighters could also get a bare bones new contract from Orr when theirs expires at the end of the month. Dan McNamara, Detroit Firefighters Union President, says he asked city attorneys and labor leaders within the administration about the new contract. “They said, ‘you know what we want, you can figure it out for yourselves,’” said McNamara.
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