Impasse Panel Fails to Recommend a Fair Deal for State Workers

FOR RELEASE: December 2, 2013

Administration claims State is improving but continues to ask State workers to sacrifice

LANSING — Today, the Coalition of State Employee Unions (CSEU) criticized the impasse panel for failing to recognize past sacrifices of state workers and for not taking into account more current state revenue forecasts.

“When Michigan’s economy and budget were in trouble, state employees stepped up, making painful concessions in past negotiations,” said Byron Osborn, a Michigan Corrections Organization member. “Now, with the state’s economy improving, state employees should be treated fairly and should not be expected to continue taking more concessions.”

During the impasse hearings, the impasse panel failed to take into account major portions of the unions’ testimony, including expert testimony by economist Mitch Bean and Rutgers University Professor Jeff Keefe.

The panel also failed to consider the state’s ballooning budget surplus ($500 million and growing) and its positive economic growth forecast, which is in direct conflict to Civil Service Rule 6-9.4(b), that establishes criteria the panel should consider in making its recommendations. Specifically, item (3) “The financial condition and ability of the state” and item (5) “Appropriate economic indicators and forecasts.

In addition, the panel’s recommendations take away the unions’ long-standing contractual right to review and approve HMO providers. In the past the state has proposed HMO vendors that don’t meet national standards. The state was allowed to present this change during the impasse hearings even though it was not proposed during the bargaining process.

The Unions recently released “Pure Michigan Waste” a report that highlighted the fact that State worker suggestions for cost savings have been ignored by the Snyder administration.  Instead of partnering with State employees to save millions in waste identified in that report by employees, the state thanks them during better times with more concessions.

“At a time when State Treasury officials are being awarded 80 and 90 percent pay raises, state workers in Michigan deserved an impasse panel that was impartial and made recommendations based on fact not fiction,” said Ken Moore, President of Michigan State Employee Association. “We will continue to fight for a fair deal for workers across Michigan.”

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The Coalition of State Employee Unions (CSEU) represents 35,000 state of Michigan workers who are members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 6000; the Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA) AFSCME Local 5; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 517M; the Michigan Corrections Organization (MCO) SEIU Local 526M, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 25.

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