DETROIT (WWJ) – A judge has decided that Robert Ficano needed the Wayne County Commission’s approval before cutting pay to union workers.

3rd Circuit Court Judge John Murphy ruled that the commission never signed off on the 20 percent cut, so the new wage scale for county union workers is a non-starter. And, that includes back pay, stretching back to late last year.

“AFSCME employees do not work exclusively for the County Executive. They are employees of Wayne County and as such, the County Commission…has ultimate authority through the Charter and county ordinances to approve changes in pay rates. As a result, the December 1, 2010 unilateral imposition of the last best offer … is invalid,” reads the ruling.

The suite was brought by Michigan Council AFSCME 25 and AFSCME Locals 25, 101 and 409.

“I’m hopeful that we can sit down and resolve the issue. I think the first step is to restore those people’s wages. We can talk about the back pay later,” AFSCME Council 25 president Al Garrett told WWJ Newsradio 950.

“Right now we’ve got folks who are losing their homes, cars and even some folks who have quit because they couldn’t make it on the 20 percent pay cut,” he said.

Garrett said the ruling means the county owes working families money.

“We intend to get every penny Bob Ficano owes the working men and women at the county. The county executive’s illegal action took money away from families who needed it to do everything from pay the house note to buy baby food. Somebody needs to be held accountable for the unnecessary pain caused by this illegal action,” Garrett said.

Ficano’s office issued the following written statement:

“The decision by Judge John Murphy is clearly erroneous. We plan to appeal this ruling and are very optimistic that this decision will be overturned. We have a long-standing relationship with AFSCME. We have been in labor negotiations since 2008 and have maintained an open line of communication during this process.”

Comments (6)
  1. Daniel Day says:

    It was blatantly clear that Robert Ficanos’ actions towards the county employees was punitive and personal. I sincerely hope the feds are investigating him! I am a county employee who has lost a great deal thanks to him.

  2. Art Again says:

    One judge, one big head, judges are only failed lawyers, and you know what we
    all feel about lawyers.

    1. Daniel Day says:

      Did you know Ficano has a law degree? All that does is make you more arrogant.

  3. Jill Hood Wrenbeck says:

    I’m glad to see justice was done in this case but more injustice is about to be done anyway. The contracts of all 7 union branches expire on September 30th and Snyder has “warned” of more firings if they don’t meet his new budget. Obviously, there will be more jobs lost, shooting our actual unemployment rate up to nearly 50%. The joke of an unemployment rate of 10% merely reflects those who are drawing unemployment benefits, which only last 20 weeks. Michigan has many people unemployed 2 years and more. 12,601 (mostly working poor) families are losing their cash assistance on October 1st (the day Snyder’s new budget begins, what a coincidence this all is!). These men and women will not be able to keep their jobs when they can’t afford daycare and gas. This will put 25,000 children on the streets. Not that Snyder cares. He needs to fill the prisons that he will soon be privatizing by bringing in GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut, yes, the Punk Prison from the Engler days of yore that cost Michigan millions) because he stands to profit personally. Make no mistake, Snyder’s agenda is to turn the middle class into poverty status, the poverty stricken into the homeless, and the homeless into prisoners. Prisoners are the gift that keeps on giving, since the taxpayer pays the private company to house them and the prisoner is paid pennies on the dollar to take jobs from the taxpayer. With one parent and the other in prison, the child becomes a ward of the state, an awful place for the child, but also paid for by the taxpayer. But did I mention that all of these “savings” that the governor is creating no taxpayer will ever see? Only businesses are getting cuts, taxpayers will pay MORE at tax time, not less. Our recession is only beginning.

  4. Daniel Day says:

    That is a good point Jill. I’m still trying to figure out how Snyder thinks he’s going to turn this state around!. I predict Michigan’s population will shrink by 10% before the end of his term.

  5. A.Friend says:

    I wonder why Mr. Ficano finds it necessary to appoint so many Wayne County assistants who earn enormous pay and benefits compared to the actual workers.This situation continues being investigated by the press and the methods they are paid seems very sketchy. It is very difficult to unseat a democrat in Wayne County politics so we need a big name democrat to challenge Ficano in a primary the next time this process begins.

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