Union protesters have descended on Michigan’s Capitol to protest a bill that would expand the role of emergency financial managers tasked with reviving the state’s struggling cities and schools, Reuters reports.The legislation, proposed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, would give state-appointed EFMs greater authority to repair city and school finances, including nullification of employee union contracts. The emergency managers would also have the power to dissolve local governing bodies and impose new union agreements.
The state’s Republican-controlled Senate is expected to pass the bill today.
Critics of the bill say it’s a thinly-veiled attempt to curb the power of public-sector unions, akin to measures that have drawn union ire in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Michigan union supporters claim sharp cuts in school funding and municipal revenue sharing will push more cities and school districts into financial distress, giving the newly-empowered EFMs unprecedented oversight of public employee unions across the state.
Detroit Public Schools is currently the only school district under emergency management.
State Treasurer Andy Dillon last month warned that dozens of Michigan communities could soon face major financial difficulties. The state treasurer’s office has been training EMFs to prepare for the expected onslaught of muni financial crises.
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