One month after warning union workers that they would see a 10% wage cut next school year, Roy Roberts, the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools today announced that he has used a new controversial law to impose $81 million in wage concessions starting next month.
All 10,000 workers in the district—union and nonunion—will see a 10% cut in their paychecks on Aug. 23 and will begin to pay 20% of health care benefits costs Sept. 1.
In May, Michigan passed a bill that cut corporate taxes by $1.7 billion, an 86% cut in the corporate income tax. But when it comes to school support workers making less than $24,000 a year and to teachers, there's a financial crisis that requires pay cuts.
The bitter irony in this is that DPS employees should be probably be getting paid more considering their work environment. It takes courage and dedication to be a teacher in Detroit. Their working conditions, from crumbling infrastructure to gang and other violence, make their job considerably different from their counterparts in most other school districts across the state. The DPS has long been run by corrupt and/or incompetent administrators and school board members, described by some as a "personal ATM" for people who embezzled money or otherwise profited personally. Now the teachers are being asked to pay the price.
Actually, of course, teachers are less being asked to pay the price than being forced to pay it. But again, that's the Republican standard for workers in 2011.