The Spark

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

Michigan EFM Law:
An Outright Attack on Workers

Mar 21, 2011

On March 16, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill allowing the governor to declare any city or school district in the state to be in a “financial emergency,” and to appoint an Emergency Financial Manager to take it over and run it.

According to the new law, that EFM would have dictatorial powers over that city or school board, and be able to: dismiss any elected officials; wipe out any union contracts; lay off any workers; and privatize any departments and services that he or she wants.

The people within the taken-over city or school district would have no way even to object to the decisions made by the EFM: the financial manager has no obligation even to hold public meetings. Everything can happen behind closed doors – even more than it does already.

Not only can elected school boards and city councils simply be done away with: the Emergency Financial Managers themselves can be private companies. The appointing of an EFM could be a direct corporate take-over of whole cities!

Not to mention the fact that the governor’s new budget, with its huge tax give-aways to corporations and cuts to cities and schools, is sure to create dire financial emergencies all over the state.

Earlier state budgets enacted under Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm played the same kinds of financial shell games, creating deficits for a number of cities and school districts which allowed her to appoint EFM’s for school districts like the Detroit Public Schools and cities like Pontiac, Benton Harbor, Highland Park and Ecorse.

Snyder’s new budget takes this even further; and the new law gives even more dictatorial powers to Emergency Financial Managers. Snyder’s budget will set up an even bigger financial emergency that he can then use – to attack unionized workers, dismantle government services, and hand over big chunks of public assets to private corporations.

This rotten law, passed by Governor Snyder and state Republicans with hardly a peep of opposition by Democrats, is just as bad as what’s been pushed in Wisconsin. It’s just more sneaky because it takes on groups of workers one at a time instead of all at once.

State officials have declared war on the state’s workers. But workers have started organizing THEIR side in this war.