Council Chambers Packed As Vote Nears On Detroit Stability Agreement
DETROIT (WWJ) – It was standing room only in Detroit City Council chambers on Tuesday as citizens and union members continued to speak out against the proposed financial stability agreement.
Council President Charles Pugh promised to address union concerns and vote soon on an agreement with the state to handle the city’s finances.
“You have negotiated in good faith and opened up your contracts and sacrificed,” said Pugh. “But the issue is that the state treasurer has some concerns, but … the concerns are not monetary.
“So, at some point today we will deal with that and figure out how we’re gonna move forward, because I think it’s disrespectful,” he said.
The city’s unions are fuming over possibly losing some of their organized labor muscle in the consent agreement being worked out between the city and the state.
Gov. Rick Snyder wants Mayor Dave Bing to reject the recently ratified contract agreements and insist on more concessions and work rule changes.
Resident Valerie Burris was among those speaking out against a state takeover.
“If this council decides that they’re gonna sign away our freedom, we have to take it back. And the way we take it back, we can’t finance our own demise. We must support our unions when they walk out,” Burris said.
If the agreement is voted down, Snyder could be forced to appoint an emergency manager. The city is expected to run out of money within weeks if the state does not intervene.
Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown angered some in the audience, and was interrupted repeatedly, as he tried to explain why he feels bankruptcy would be bad for the city.
“[In] bankruptcy for seven or eight years, we would pay attorneys millions of dollars. But, most importantly, the banks would cancel the lines of credit of all of our vendors and contractors, which are now living off the credit lines,” Brown said.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has scheduled a hearing on a lawsuit by unions that seeks to block council members from voting on the agreement.
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