DETROIT (WWJ) – Frustrated Detroit firefighters and police officers took their message to Mayor Dave Bing’s home on Friday.
A group of more than a hundred marched outside the Manoogian Mansion in protest of imposed pay cuts and work rule changes, including 12-hour work days.
“This is a thief,” said one woman, pointing at a photo of Bing. “This is the new master of slavery. This is what he’s tryin’ to do.”
Detroit Police Officers Association President Joe Duncan says 12-hour work days will endanger not only police but also the public. “Cutting police or demanding to police to work 12-hour shifts is not the answer,” Duncan said. “It is not the answer. It’s going to be the problem.”
As the city continues to struggle in financial crisis, Bing has imposed pay cuts on all city employees.
Detroit firefighter Jeffrey Urbas was among protesters calling on Bing to negotiate with the union in good faith.
“We need to negotiate together about safety — that’s No. 1,” Urbas told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Florence Walton. “The money issue … We understand there’s problems in the city. We’ve had a tentative agreement through our unions we agrees upon, sat it in front of him and he threw it in a dumpster. That’s not fair.”
Under a consent agreement with the city, a state-appointed team had the power to reject the union contracts. Gov. Rick Snyder said the concessions did not go far enough.
Prior to the agreement, Detroit was on course to be more than $400 million in debt.