The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Enough to start a fight

Jul 28, 2003

Workers in AFSCME Council 25, the biggest of the Detroit city workers' unions, voted by about 60% to accept a new concession contract.

The workers have been without a contract since 2001. The new contract calls for two% raises in 2003 and 2004, and a $400 signing bonus, but no raises at all back to 2001. In other words it accepts the wage freeze of the past two years.

Local 207, the water, sewage and public lighting workers, the largest local in Council 25, rejected the contract 582 against to only 80 for. Their vote wasn't enough to turn back the contract overall.

But the workers who voted strongly against this deal are numerous enough to take their message to other workers. They are numerous enough to take the lead in starting a fight. Contracts aren't ever the last word. They get amended all the time.

It's also true that 40 other unions have unsettled contracts with the City of Detroit. AFSCME workers who aren't satisfied may find they have a lot of company.