It’s a fair assumption that everyone can agree that the recent layoff of 12 firefighters is not a good thing.
But as one newscaster said, the layoffs were self-inflicted by the firefighters. After the leaders of the firefighters’ union agreed to contract concession negotiated with city officials, their union members rejected that deal.
That’s their right.
And yes, union leaders cannot predict what their fellow union members will do.
But it looks a little suspect when several weeks ago union members publicly complained that when they reached an agreement on a set of concessions city officials withdrew the deal and demanded more concessions.
Now it appears it’s the firefighters saying one thing and doing another. Just who is getting jacked around?
The fact is the city cannot afford the department under the present contract.
So, city officials took a dramatic step to force the issue.
So far, firefighters have not backed down.
We understand no one wants to take a financial hit, especially after bargaining in good faith. But these are tough and unpredictable times.
Anticipated revenue streams dried up, the city’s tax base has plummeted.
It’s a gamble on the part of city officials to order the layoffs. Anyone with an ounce of sense will realize that because of mandatory staffing levels, the city is going to be dishing out a load of overtime money.
In other words, the layoffs are going to be very expensive. And yes, the remaining firefighters are going to be earning a ton of money.
So, are the firefighters and city officials at an impasse?
It appears so, but bankrupting the city will be a lose-lose for both sides in this labor dispute.
If the city does go broke, the state will step and appoint an emergency manager to take over.
Is that what firefighters and city officials want? We doubt it.
Get back to the negotiation table, and hammer this one out before Hamtramck runs out of money.