Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Mayor

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje discussed the city's budget challenges at a town hall forum Wednesday night. One of the biggest hurdles, he said, is Michigan Public Act 312, a 1969 law that provides for compulsory arbitration of labor disputes in municipal police and fire departments. "One of the things that mayors across the state are lobbying for and the Michigan Municipal League is lobbying for is a change in Act 312 at the state level because it is extremely difficult to work with the police and fire unions to get anything back. Sometimes they'll get a wage increase and the arbitrator does not have to take into account the ability of a community to pay and that's one of the key points. So we're pushing on that in Lansing. I don't know if there's going to be any change, but it would help communities across the state to sort of level the playing field when it comes to union negotiations."

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