A new report from Demos casts doubt on Detroit's supposed $18 billion of debt:
“The real issue is about the cash, and in fiscal year 2014 it is about an $198 million cash shortfall,” said Turbeville. He blames the shortfall on a number of factors, including the Great Recession, a dwindling tax base, and declining state aid. But pension obligations, which have stayed mostly flat over the past five years, are not a significant factor in Turbeville’s analysis.

A much larger factor appears to be city’s debt to Wall Street. As of 2011, Detroit owed $3.8 billion to major financial institutions because of financial instruments called interest rate swaps.

But that would leave much less excuse for demonizing public workers and taking their pensions, so don't expect to hear this as widely quoted as the $18 billion number.

And more:

UAW graduate employees have reached an unprecedented agreement with New York University in which the administration will remain neutral and respect the results of an election for more than 1,200 GAs, TAs, and RAs to vote on Union representation. In an election expected to happen on December 10th and 11th, a majority vote by graduate employees would restore collective bargaining and put the Union in position to have a new contract in place by the end of the academic year.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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