DETROIT (WWJ) – With the fear of an emergency financial manager in some Michigan cities facing budget woes, like Detroit, unions like the United Auto Workers are saying not so fast.
The United Auto Workers leadership has met with Governor Rick Snyder in an effort to avoid an emergency financial manager going into a city and potentially doing away with collective bargaining agreements. UAW Vice President of Public Sector and Suppliers, Cindy Estrada, calls it a crisis.
“I think it sends a message that working people and management can’t sit down together and solve a problem. or that the officials that we elect, not to have the ability to sit down and believe that we can figure it out,” Estrada said.
Estrada thinks unions need to stand up, speak out and not allow corporations to continue to take a free ride.
“It also skirts away from the real issue. We have a budget problem in states today not because workers haven’t stepped up to the plate. I mean we saw it in GM, Ford and Chrysler. Workers step up to the plate every day during a crisis,” Estrada said. “It’s because we have an unbalance of power in this country. We have corporations that are taking, that are not paying their fair share in taxes”.
Estrada said their lawyers are looking into the issues, but consultant and labor lawyer Robert Chiaravalli said he is not sure the new law will be changed.
“I don’t see any major assault on the constitutional grounds because of the way they’re doing it. I think it’s going to be more of a political backlash,” Chiaravalli said. “My view is that it’s probably going to help employees and working people understand that there are rights out there and that if they don’t have the union, they’re going to raise up those voices some other place.”
The UAW hopes to have more meetings with the Governor in order to come to an agreement.
“It doesn’t seem right that citizens in this country could elect officials to represent them and then a Governor can appoint someone to say that they can take away those rights. To me, on the face of it and I gotta believe that… that somehow has to be a constitutional issue, but we’re investigating that now,” Estrada said.