New Hope for Detroit Unions in Uproar Over State Takeover

Top Michigan officials have acknowledged that they are working on a plan to compromise with the groups and elected officials.

Posted: 12/09/2011 06:07 PM EST

Union workers in Detroit may be exhaling a sigh of relief in response to the most recent news surrounding the state’s emergency manager laws.


On Thursday, top state officials acknowledged that they are working on a plan to rewrite Public Act 4 of 2011, which allows the governor to appoint a manager to take immediate control of a city or school district, break any existing union contracts, and even dismiss elected officials.


Currently emergency managers are running public schools in the cities of Detroit, Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac and Ecorse. Additionally, under the law, Detroit faces the prospect of a state-appointed manager to try to fix its finances.


For the past few weeks local unions and organizations have rallied to try to put an end to the law they call discriminatory and would lead to continuing layoffs. A group of protestors says that it is close to gathering enough petitions to force a public vote on the law, but Republican state Governor Rick Snyder believes a vote and subsequent suspension of the law would only set back the financial plans he says the state needs.


It's possible "emergency managers would disappear, but the financial emergencies would not," Ari Adler, a spokesman for the state’s house speaker, Jase Bolger, told the Detroit Free Press.


If opponents of the law receive enough signatures, the law’s suspension would be in effect until the November 2012 election. Under suspension, there is no official word whether there would be an emergency manager or whether the state would revert to the less strict laws that existed under former Governor Jennifer Granholm.


The Senate has adjourned for the week with no word whether the Legislature will take any action before adjourning for the holidays.


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