Republican House Jase Bolger is on what appears to be a one-man effort to extort money from Detroit labor unions. He recently laid down a new condition for state support of the so-called “grand bargain” in Detroit, a carefully-crafted and complex agreement that would protect the priceless art collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts and dramatically minimize the financial impact on Detroit city pension holders. His new requirement is that labor unions pay for part of it so that the state would be on the hook for less than the $350 million they are being asked to contribute as part of the multi-party agreement.
I say “one-man” because his counterpart in the Senate, Republican Leader Randy Richardville, along with Governor Rick Snyder are slowly backing away leaving him on his own.
“He’s been adamant about that for awhile,” Richardville said of Bolger’s demand that unions kick in cash from their reserves towards the settlement. “I understand where he’s coming from, but I’m not going to be as adamant about that.”
It makes it more challenging but I’m used to challenges…we didn’t have that on our list of conditions.
Bolger is attempting to separate the labor union members from the labor unions themselves, absurdly treating them as two distinct groups. The fact is that Detroit union members — who ARE the unions — have made enormous sacrifices over the past few years to help Detroit out of its financial calamity. There isn’t a city union member that hasn’t seen their wages decreased or their benefits cut.
Jase Bolger has always detested unions and would like you to believe they are largely responsible for Detroit’s predicament. He’s picking yet another fight with them to avoid having the state take responsibility and assuming its essential role in solving the problem.
Remember this: the state took over Detroit’s government on the basis that it was responsible for making sure Detroit got back on its feet. If they are going to assume that responsibility then they need to actually BE responsible and play their required role. Trying to evade that responsibility and extort more concessions from union workers is offensive and transparent.
Good luck with that, Mr. Bolger. You’re on your own.