Union leader: Wayne County cuts would leave some at '$5.60 an hour'

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is revealing a new budget that eliminates a huge deficit.

Not everyone's happy about that. One union president said some county employees will take home less money than fast food workers. 

"It's frustrating, they just won't listen," said Dennis Martin. "They have no sympathy. I don't know how they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning."

Martin represents Wayne County's public service workers can't believe what the union is being asked to give up.

Cuts to healthcare, pensions, overtime, holidays, a 5 percent wage reduction and giving the county the right to contract out.

Martin claims if his workers are forced to take these concessions - a mid-level equipment operator, for example - a snow plow driver - would make about $5.65 an hour after taxes.

Or, less than someone who works at McDonald's.

"You can't feed a family, pay your bills on that," Martin said. "You can't."

Evans is working against the clock to close a $52 million dollar budget gap. A state review team, which has been examining the county's financial troubles, already found "probable financial stress." 

If Gov. Rick Snyder eventually declares a financial emergency, Evans can't get the the concessions from the unions on his own and a consent agreement is reached - the workers will not get a choice.

"The alternative is walk out, do an 'orange flu,' march or lock the gates," Martin said. "They're going to have lock the gates if this goes through. People will not be able to afford to work here."

On Monday, Evans sent a $1.54 billion dollar recommended budget to the Wayne County commission for approval.

He calls it realistic and balanced.

Sheriff Benny Naploeon backed the budget. Through legacy costs savings and management improvements - his department will spend $12 million less next year.

In a statement he said for the first time, the budget recognizes the true cost of inmate incarceration and the necessity of duties his staff must perform.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who will see mental health program funding restored, is also behind this proposed budget, that she says brings her office where it needs to be to deliver justice.

It's the multiple unions under council 25 that feel they would be taking the biggest hit, for years of bad decisions by a financially strapped county.

"I have 31 years in," Martin said."I'll be alright I'm not worried about me I'm worried about the other people."

FOX 2 contacted Wayne County to respond, a spokesperson in a statement "It our policy to not negotiate union contracts through the media."

Union leaders have a counter-proposal planned for Friday.


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories