Dearborn Union Negotiations Moving Forward, But Not Complete, Says Mayor

Three union contracts—including the Dearborn Firefighters union—are still pending.

Dearborn City Council on Tuesday approved three salary plans for city employees—including two union contracts.

The plans—which oversee the salaries for administrative staff, as well as the Municipal Workers of Dearborn and Supervisory, Technical and Professional Employees Union—are in effect retroactively to July 1, 2010, when the contracts ended.

The contracts will open up again in July 2014.

Administrative staff are not part of a union, but the city still negotiates their pay and benefits.

With those approvals, Mayor Jack O'Reilly said, the city has settled three of its six ongoing union negotiations. The first and easiest to reach agreement upon, he said, was the Dearborn Police union.

"They were wonderful to work with," O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly stated this spring that his goal was to have all city departments agree to a 10 percent reduction in costs. So far, they've been successful in getting unions to make necessary cuts to expenditures.

"I didn't say how, but we had to achieve that goal," he said.

Police and fire contracts opened July 1, while other union contracts had been in negotiation for some time. However, O'Reilly was proud to say that none were forced into binding arbitration.

Still on the table are union contracts with the Dearborn Firefighters, Teamsters and police dispatch.

O'Reilly commented Tuesday that they're "very close" to concluding most of the negotiations.

"I'm very optimistic with Teamsters and with dispatch," he said.

Of the firefighters union, he said there's still more discussion to be had.

"We're on the right page and we're getting there," he said. "We all agree on what the target is, but not how to get there."

O'Reilly conceded that all city employees—from his office down the line—are being asked to do more with less.

"And that's hard," he said. "This is just a rough time."

Dearborn Taxpayer November 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM
It will be interesting to see the details of the outcomes of these negotiations. Since it appears that the city has been operating under expired contracts for over 2 years, how will the "retroactive" cost reductions of 10% be achieved for those past 2 years? Will Dearborn taxpayers be provided additional detail and transparency from our Mayor and city leaders on this?
Bob November 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I saw those three items on the City Council meeting last night for the Municipal Workers of Dearborn Salary Plan, the Supervisory, Technical and Professional Employees Union Salary Plan and the Executive and Administrative Unit Salary Plan for the period beginning July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2014 for all of them, but they provided no details as to what the amendments entailed. Does Patch have any additional information to explain what the details are behind these amendments?
Lee Jacobsen November 14, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Dearborn taxpayer....Clinton set the stage for retroactive tax payments years ago, I am sure that the city has the legal basis to just take the cost reductions out of their check, just like SS and other deductions. On another note, with Obamacare, the city could save a bundle by just paying the $2000 penalty, and letting the firefighters select their own insurance from the exchanges. A compromise in negotiations would be for the city to pay each firefighter a set amount towards healthcare, say ten grand, and let the firefighters either spend it at the exchanges , or pay the small penalty and go without healthcare. That way, the firefighters have the remaining healthcare money to spend as they choose, to make their own choices. Perhaps some of them don't like the idea of being forced to pay for healthcare. This would give them an option to voice their view. After all, one still gets emergency care for themselves and family even if you just pay the $800 penalty, and can use the balance of the ten grand for other uses. Sound extreme? All of these scenarios are possible in Obamacare, and many other private companies and local govts will be doing variations on saving money, how is Dearborn going to save taxpayers money in negotiations, and keep the firefighters happy at the same time?? Obamacare is now the law of the land, and must be factored in.
City of Dearborn November 14, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I hope to have more details soon, Bob, but had to file a request to obtain the union contracts. However, the administrative unit is not actually a union. The council still approves their contract, but it's known as a "meet and confer" contract, according to Mayor O'Reilly.


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