AFSCME Obtains Court Order Halting Woodhaven-Brownstown School District from Privatizing AFSCME Members' Jobs

Jun 24, 2010, 14:41 ET from Michigan AFSCME Council 25, AFL-CIO

DETROIT, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Albert Garrett, President of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, issued the following statement:

"On June 23, 2010, the Wayne County Circuit Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District from terminating many of its employees and replacing them with private contractors," stated Garrett.  "The school district sought to eliminate all transportation employees, including bus drivers and mechanics, custodians and maintenance employees.  All of these employees would be replaced with contract employees.

"To allow for fair and competitive bidding to save school districts money, the legislature passed amendments to Michigan's labor law to permit school district employee unions to bid on an equal basis as other bidders for their jobs," continued Garrett.  "If the school district does not provide this opportunity to bid, it must bargain with the union about privatization.

"The complaint filed in court alleges that Woodhaven-Brownstown School District issued a Request for Proposals that only permitted contractors to bid," Garrett explained.  "There was no provision which allowed the employees to bid in any way.  After the union demanded to bargain over all issues related to subcontracting, the employer refused to bargain.

"At the same time, the school district told the employees that to prevent the loss of their jobs; they would need to come up with $400,000 in concessions," Garrett pointed out.  "The union submitted a proposal that would save the school district roughly $425,000.  The next day, the school district rejected the proposal and stated that it needed $900,000 in concessions.

"Michigan AFSCME Council 25 filed an unfair labor practice alleging that it was not provided an opportunity to bid on an equal basis and the employer refused to bargain regarding privatization," added Garrett.  "The union also alleged that the school district bargained in bad faith when the union met the district's target for concessions and the school district reacted by more than doubling the target then terminating all of the employees.

"AFSCME also sought injunctive relief to avoid a meaningless decision regarding the unfair labor practice; whether the school district has an obligation to bargain with the union regarding privatization is moot if the jobs are already privatized," Garrett asserted.  "Judge Michael Sapala of the Wayne County Circuit Court issued a temporary restraining order halting the privatization."

Albert Garrett is also Michigan Vice President for AFSCME International.  Michigan AFSCME Council 25 represents more than 90,000 public workers across Michigan.  AFSCME International represents 1.4 million public workers nationwide.  News releases issued by Michigan AFSCME Council 25 are available at http://laborweb.afscme.org/sites/MI_C_25

SOURCE Michigan AFSCME Council 25, AFL-CIO