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Orr Takes Immediate Aim at Pensions After Judge OKs Detroit Bankruptcy

AFSCME Photo

A federal bankruptcy judge today ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy protection and may cut pension benefits for retired city workers despite a provision in the state’s Constitution banning such pension cuts. Attorneys for city workers, firefighters and police officers say they will appeal the judge’s ruling.

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The Real Reason Detroit Went Bankrupt

The Real Reason Detroit Went Bankrupt

As the story goes, the city of Detroit went bankrupt because of $18 billion in long-term debt, in large part caused by pension and health care benefitsA new report, written by Wallace Turbeville and released today from Demos, says that narrative is inflated, inaccurate and irrelevant to explaining the city's bankruptcy.

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AFT Member First Latina on Detroit City Council

Castañeda-López for City Council photo

AFT member Raquel Castañeda-López became the first Latina woman to be elected Tuesday to the Detroit City Council. The Wayne State University adviser was raised in a union family. Her immigrant father was a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local 6 in Detroit and her mother was a Rural Letter Carriers' member.

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Detroit’s Bankruptcy Czar Refuses Free Lunch Offer from City Pensioners

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO photo

It wasn’t crab cakes and calamari delivered via room service to his tony penthouse paid for by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) “secretive nonprofit foundation,” but Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s so-called emergency manager overseeing the city’s bankruptcy, turned down an offer of a free lunch.

Maybe he doesn’t have the taste for a down-home chili dog, but it’s more likely he didn’t have the stomach or backbone to dine with the retired city workers who invited him to lunch Monday. The retirees who, Orr has said, face “significant cuts” to pensions.

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AFSCME Presents GIFtroit: The Story of Detroit’s Bankruptcy

In a humorous treatment of a serious subject, AFSCME is using GIFs—those ubiquitous, short animated photos—to tell the story of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

boxing_kitten

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Detroit, Labor Day and a Hard Day’s Night

Photo courtesy of AFSCME's Facebook page. Ora Mae, a retired Detroit City worker.

Detroit, Labor Day and a Hard Day’s Night was originally published on The Hill's Congress Blog

The Beatles first visited Detroit just before Labor Day in 1964, and they gushed with admiration for the Motown sound. Detroit hummed with industry then, like the Beatle’s own Liverpool, England, with its bustling ports and pop music scene. Both industrial cities would soon flounder, losing 40 percent of their populations over the next 30 years.

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Detroit Unions Challenge City’s Bankruptcy Claims

Several unions representing Detroit city works and retirees challenged Detroit’s claim for bankruptcy protection. The challenges were filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit, the court which will determine if the city is eligible for bankruptcy protection. AFSCME Council 25 said the city has not proven it is insolvent and has not negotiated in good faith with its creditors.

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Workers, Unions Must Be Part of Detroit Solution, Says UAW’s King

World Economic Forum photo

UAW President Bob King tells In These Times’ Molly M. Ginty:

If we restructure the city just like we restructured the auto industry, there’s hope that Detroit, too, can see a turnaround.

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Executive Council: Detroit Bankruptcy Must Not Impoverish Workers, Retirees

AFSCME Photo

Detroit’s bankruptcy filing “must not be used as a tool to impoverish city of Detroit workers or retirees,” says the AFL-CIO Executive Council, in a statement from its July meeting.

City workers already have made severe concessions to keep the city afloat. They are not to blame for Detroit’s financial problems, yet they have been making sacrifices all along the way to help the city out….The AFL-CIO will continue to support our city of Detroit active and retired members in their fight to maintain dignity on the job, a safe workplace, fair wages and benefits for their labor, and against cuts in the pensions they have paid for and earned.

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AFSCME’s Saunders Slams Lack of Communication in Detroit’s Rush to Bankruptcy

AFSCME photo

Before Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and his hand-picked emergency manager Kevyn D. Orr rushed the city’s bankruptcy filing to federal court last week, they refused to sit down and discuss the future of the city’s workers and retirees, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said this morning on "The Bill Press Show." He told Press:

They have not sat down and talked with the union at all in Detroit. They have refused to do so, to talk about how these issued can be resolved. They have said they’ve attempted to have these kinds of discussions. That is a bold-faced lie.

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