Showdown with unions looming for ailing Detroit
By Steve Pardo
City unions upset about pay cuts, concessions and the looming layoffs of thousands of workers say they are not ruling out striking as the city works to finalize its budget. Although it's illegal for public employees to strike in Michigan, some union leaders say Detroit's consent agreement with the state — which they consider an attack on collective bargaining rights — invalidates the law. Squabbles between city officials and unions are nothing new. But adding state involvement to the mix via the consent agreement is making it even more frustrating, said Marick Masters, a business professor and labor relations expert at Wayne State University. "The fact of the matter is there is a very big player in this and it is the state of Michigan, which is holding the reins of power," Masters said. "The state is the one who will be moving this forward."