Satisfied with promises the City of Detroit made to Detroit sewage-plant employees, the union that represents them ended its five-day strike against the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, AFSCME Local 207 said in a news release.
The tentative agreement with city officials included reinstatement of the 34 fired workers who walked out on Sept. 30, a promise by city officials to discuss the issues the workers struck over, and a promise to reopen their labor contract for renegotiation if the union wins a federal appeal, according to Riehl.
The union is appealing rulings in September and November 2011 by federal district court Judge Sean Cox, who also ordered the Oct. 1 temporary injunction against the Local 207 strikers. Cox’s 2011 rulings ordered the City of Detroit to meet 1977 EPA findings under the federal Clean Water Act. Also in November 2011, Cox denied the request of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees to intervene in the case. Local 207 is part of AFSCME Council 25.
Cox denied the city’s request to dismiss. But he also ruled that in reorganizing to comply with the EPA findings, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the city don’t have to observe city ordinances, the city charter, and union and labor contracts.
Shanta Driver, an attorney representing Local 207 in the negotiations with the city, said in the statement that the tentative agreement shows that the people of Detroit can fight off privatization or a takeover by the suburbs surrounding Detroit. The Detroit water department provides water and sewer service to cities and towns within an approximately 1,000-square mile area.
Riehl ‘s statement said Local 207 will continue to negotiate with the city and members will vote on any final contract.