Judge orders second hearing as unions try to preserve contracts

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A union leader told 7 Action News the city is headed toward "unrest" and a "work stoppage" if the recently ratified contracts are thrown out.

Ed McNeil of AFSCME 25 made the alarming comments after a federal court hearing Monday afternoon.

A majority of the city's unions wants a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to keep their contracts in place.

They have filed suit against state and city officials.

The unions claim Governor Rick Snyder is pressuring council not to sign off on the contract which was ratified by union members last month.

The judge says he will not issue a ruling before looking deeper into the case. He has ordered everyone to a second hearing on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.

"I have not had time to have a definitive opinion," Judge Arthur Tarnow said in court today. "These are enormous legal issues."

As it stands, a proposed consent agreement calls to throw out the tentative union contracts already written and to rewrite them after their expiration in June.

The contracts would most likely be written after a consent agreement is in place and are likely to be less favorable to the unions.

McNeil says many union members are on public assistance and cannot take deeper cuts. The recently ratified deal calls for a 10% pay cut and for membership to pay more for health care, among other concessions.

"We are moving to unrest and there may be a work stoppage," McNeil said after court today.

The city of Detroit is in serious danger of running out of cash before the June 30 deadline marking the end of the fiscal year.

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