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Detroit Teachers Union To Fight District-wide Pay Cut

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The head the teachers union vows to fight, after Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts, Friday, imposed a 10-percent pay cut on all district employees, including himself.

The district also announced, in a statement, that employees also will begin contributing 20-percent toward their health care costs.

Speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil, Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson said he’s reviewing his options fight the pay cuts.

That’s despite the fact that a new state law gives emergency financial managers broad powers to null and void union contracts.

“That’s debatable,” said Johnson. “We believe we’ve identified some foundations within the context of the law, in terms of what it was designed to do, and the circumstances under which it was designed to do it.”

Meantime, DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said they’ve gotten the OK to move ahead from the State Treasurer’s Office.

“We have done due diligence and have taken all of the steps necessary under Public Act 4, which appointed Emergency Managers in Michigan to indeed make that so,” he said.

Wasko said this is a win for students.

“This allows us to do a number of things this year including keeping class sizes low, in fact lower them by three students per grade, in the majority of grades across the entire school district,” said Wasko.

Wasko said it also should be kept in mind that this is not the only action they’re taking. He said over $231 million was cut out of this year’s budget, along with a total reduction of almost 800 employees across the district.

Wasko said this latest move will save a total of $82 million this year.  Roberts has said this is all  part of an effort to erase the district’s $327 million budget deficit.

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