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Orr puts Detroit unions on notice

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has reminded two of the city’s biggest unions that their contracts are expiring soon.

In letters sent this week, Orr emphasized that he’s not required to conduct collective bargaining sessions.

Under the state’s emergency manager law, he could impose new terms on the unions.

Mark Young is President of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which along with AFSCME Council 25 is one of the affected unions.

He says the officers should get a new collective bargaining agreement.

“I represent investigators, sergeants and lieutenants, who don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it home at the end of their shift,” Young said. “They shouldn’t be imposed on. These are people who’ve given significant concessions already.”

Young says that would spark a wave of retirements that would diminish the police force, just as a new Chief comes into office next week.

“My members are exercising and exploring their options to retire,” says Young. “Many of them are down at the pension board as we speak now.”

Orr’s office says new employment terms are possible, but no decisions have been made.   

The emergency manager is required to “meet and confer” with affected unions before imposing new contract terms.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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