The City of Detroit has given the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association notice that its contract is being terminated when it ends July 6.
In a letter to union president Mark Young dated Monday, attorney Lamont Satchel, the city's director of labor relations, pointed out the contract will be terminated when it expires.
Bill Nowling, spokesman for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, said this morning the letter was expected and is required by the union contract as Orr restructures the city.
"The letter itself is more of an administrative action because for your average employee, it doesn't change anything July 7 from July 6," Nowling said.
Orr's administration is not required to renegotiate pay and benefit terms as city employee contracts expire. Under the emergency manager arrangement, Orr can replace the union contracts with "city employment terms," or CETs, that include adjustments to pay and benefits for employees. Nowling said adjustments, if any, are unknown at this time.
Orr met with the city's creditors earlier this month and laid out his plan to settle the insolvent city's liabilities of up to $20 billion. Orr must reach agreements with all the city's creditors to avoid declaring bankruptcy for the city.
Orr's restructuring also includes a 10-year, $1.25-billion spending plan to deliver better services to city residents. He also met with union officials about the restructuring plan, which is expected to reduce city-provided healthcare for retirees and current workers and make other cuts to labor costs.
"This is a machine with many moving parts on it," Nowling said today. "What we're able to get in concessions from our creditors will adjust what money we have to spend on city services and employees."
Nowling said Orr expects to sit down with union representatives before issuing CETs for each organization.
"We're going to sit down and meet with all the unions when we decide what terms we need to have," Nnowling said. "A lot of it's going to be driven by this restructuring."
Nowling acknowledged the unknowns are difficult for city employees.
"We have to make some very difficult and painful choices," he said. "But they have to be done in order for the city to be able to restructure and provide services. We can't sustain the path we're on. Unfortunately because of the decisions or lack of decisions made in previous administrations, we're at the point where we're at today that we have to make some really tough decisions."
Copyright 2013 - Detroit Free Press
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