Nov 12, 2012
On November 6th, voters in Michigan struck down the Governor’s right to impose emergency managers, or EMs, on cities, counties & school districts across Michigan.
Governor Snyder had already installed emergency managers for seven school districts and communities, including the Detroit Public School System and the cities of Benton Harbor and Pontiac. These emergency managers were given broad powers to “fix” the finances of cities and school districts that they considered at risk of failing.
The emergency managers sure “fixed” things: for example, they tore up contracts and laid off all 4,000 school teachers in Detroit, forcing them to reapply for their jobs. They cut wages by ten% and attacked seniority and tenure rights while rehiring fewer teachers. And after all this, these EMs managed to double school debt while enriching all kinds of corporate suppliers.
Luckily, workers and community groups mobilized against these attacks. By refusing to accept the situation, through their demonstrations and efforts to publicize their plight, they made Michigan voters aware of what was happening.
Politicians in Lansing have threatened that they will be right back with new proposals for new emergency measures. But it certainly won’t be easy for them to get past this recent defeat if the population stays alert and organized.
People say you can’t fight city hall. But in Michigan, regular people like you and me stood up to the Governor and his crew, and that is something to talk about.