Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is terminating two contracts with Detroit unions: the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. Under the collective bargaining agreements, the City of Detroit is required to notify the unions 10 days before a contract expires. These union contracts are currently set to expire on July 6, the same date that the contracts are set to be terminated. By terminating these contracts as they expire, collective bargaining that would normally occur will no longer take place. As emergency manager, Orr can replace those union contracts with city employment terms that could include adjustments to pay and/or benefits. Orr’s office said that even though the contracts are being terminated, there will be no immediate changes to pay or benefits to those employees. Orr could maintain the terms of the existing contracts for a period of time as well.
The expiration and termination of these union contracts could have a far greater impact on the public safety of the City of Detroit. Public safety officials on the bubble of retirement may choose to retire early to try to ensure certain retirement benefits under their existing contracts before Orr institutes new contracts with potentially less pay and less benefits. Although Orr has held public safety as a top priority, the loss of a significant amount of police officers and firefighters could further debilitate both of the already struggling Detroit Police and Detroit Fire Departments.