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Detroit Council Prez: It’s Time For Meeting Between City, State Leaders

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit City Council president Charles Pugh thinks it might be time for city and state leaders to have a face-to-face talk, after a new deal by the state calls for the city to renegotiate recently ratified union contracts.

Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Friday morning, Pugh said the new deal diminishes progress the city has already made with its unions.

“We understand that the state treasurer and the governor have some concerns about the tentative agreements that have been now ratified by the unions, but the issue is that it’s not monetary, it’s more work rule. So, the question is, you know, can we approve these contracts or modify them in some way. But, you know, the unions are saying that they’ve already been through negotiations with the city and so that the city council needs to approve them,” said Pugh.

Listen to the complete interview:

Council will discuss the proposed agreements on Monday, and Pugh said as of right now, he’s leaning toward a “yes” vote.

“I know that they [the unions] have made tremendous sacrifices and it’s the monetary piece of their union contracts that they negotiated, that will help the city … I don’t think, however, that the police contracts go far enough, and I do believe the police personnel need to take a 10 percent pay cut, like AFSCME and others… I don’t know if there’s time to go back to the table and renegotiate something with our police unions,” he said.

Pugh said all the back-and-forth banter between Detroit and Lansing just isn’t getting the job done.

“I think that maybe it’s time for us to go to Lansing and have a sit-down with the leadership there and the House and in the Senate, to say ‘Look, here are the reforms that we plan to do, but we need cash in order to be able to do this.’ And perhaps the Governor can give us a few more days in order to do that because I’m not really understanding, you know, these tight deadlines. I’m just trying to figure out what they are for,” he said.

Pugh says he wants a deal that offers Detroit some wiggle room and some cash to make expensive reforms in the city.

“It is a strange place to be. I’ve never been here before and it’s like you’re caught between two powerful forces,” he said.

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