36th District Court union workers reject proposed contract - KMSP-TV

36th District Court union workers reject proposed contract

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36th District Court in Detroit 36th District Court in Detroit
DETROIT (WJBK) -

The stakes just got higher for nearly 200 workers at 36th District Court. They shot down a proposed one year contract that would have cut their pay and downgraded their insurance.

The top negotiator for Judge Michael Talbot said it was a short sighted and uninformed decision to reject the contract.

However, Marjorie Dickerson said rejecting it was a no-brainer.

"We have not had a pay increase, raise or anything since 2005, not even step increases, and then you come in and you tell us I'm going to cut your insurance," she said.

Talbot was behind the harsh offer. He was tapped to oversee a major overhaul of the court. More than 100 workers have been laid off, and services have been outsourced in order to cut costs.

Union leader Robert Davis said those changes have only made things worse.

"As a result of particular AFSCME employees being laid off, the services have been reduced significantly," he said.

More layoffs and concessions could be on the way. Since workers voted down the one year deal, they will have to negotiate a longer term contract that will likely be more severe than the last.

However, Davis warned if Talbot plays hardball, workers will be inclined to do the same.

"I'm trying to work cooperatively with Judge Talbot, who is a great jurist in his own right, but the problem here is the representative that Kevyn Orr has at the table that's putting forth his directives and demands," he said.

We asked Davis whether a strike was possible.

"Anything is possible," he said.

"If we need to strike, if we need to walk out, then that's our leadership. If that's what we must do, we got to do what it takes," said AFSCME President Debra Beal.

We will find out if that will happen in just a few days. Both sides seem as if they are miles apart in finding any common ground. There is also a deadline for that contract that is set for July 31.

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