DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police officers, firefighters and other municipal union members picketed around City Hall Thursday to protest of a 10-percent pay cut and changes in health care benefits under contracts imposed by Mayor Dave Bing.
Several hundred people rallied and called on Bing to be fair in his dealings with city workers.
Police unions are awaiting a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals that would allow the extension of a temporary injunction holding the pay cuts at bay. If denied, the unions will take their case to the state Supreme Court, said Joseph Duncan, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association.
"We're law-abiding people. We're not talking about a stoppage," Duncan told reporters during the rally. "I'm not talking about a strike."
It's illegal in Michigan for municipal workers to strike.
Earlier this month, Bing imposed new contracts without any negotiations with unions whose previous deals expired June 30. The contracts cut salaries by 10 percent and require employees to pay 20 percent of their medical costs. Other previously bargained perks including bonus vacation days and annual increases to retirement plans have been eliminated. Hundreds of workers also will be laid off.
Bing, who is trying to fix a budget deficit topping $200 million as well as billions of dollars in long-term structural debt, has said the contracts will save the city more than $100 million.
Bing was allowed to impose the contracts under a financial stability agreement brokered between him and the state. That agreement was reached in April and headed off the appointment of an emergency manager by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Officer Katherine Price said she and other officers may have to get second jobs just to make ends meet.
"I don't think as police officers we should have to get second jobs," said the 41-year-old Price, who is assigned patrol duties in the city's 12th Precinct. "I don't have a choice. I have to do what I have to do for my kids."