The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Extorting Concessions from City Workers

Feb 6, 2012

Leaders of 25 of the 48 City of Detroit unions announced they reached a tentative agreement on deep concessions with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Of course, the membership still hasn’t voted yet to accept the cuts. And leaders of other unions where there is more resistance haven’t yet joined the latest stampede–including unions representing water department employees, bus drivers and police and firefighters.

The contract proposal includes a 10% wage cut, an increase in health insurance co-pays, pension benefit cuts, a defined contribution plan for new hires instead of a pension, elimination of overtime pay for more than eight hours, and 1,000 layoffs.

The city had imposed furlough days on city employees in the last concessions–which amounted to a 10% pay cut. Now the city wants the pay cuts AND for employees to work those days so the city can lay off workers.

This so-called deal was pushed through with threats that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will impose an Emergency Financial Manager on the city, who will impose worse concessions if the unions don’t agree. It was a campaign carried by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, the City Council and all the media.

Some City Council members jumped in to demand even bigger cuts, 1,300 additional layoffs, closing the remaining city recreation centers, increasing bus fares, privatizing more city services, and, perhaps, ending subsidies to the art museum, zoo, and African-American history museum.

Why in the world should city workers be the ones asked to pay for Detroit’s budget mess? Why should the population suffer even more cutbacks?

City workers didn’t move corporations out of the city, eroding the tax base. City workers didn’t drain the budget by giving tax breaks to corporations to bring work back. City workers didn’t give no-bid contracts to politicians’ friends. And they didn’t authorize high interest loans/bonds in order to fund banks and the wealthy.

Get any needed money from the wealthy–they have robbed the city for decades!