In addition to the Pension Plan and retiree benefits, the labor agreements had three costly provisions:
"Me Too" clause – Each of the union agreements had provisions that automatically reopened the contract in the event that any other Ecorse bargaining group received compensation and fringe benefit increases. This provision, more than any other, resulted in labor strife and ever escalating payroll costs. Throughout the mid-1980s, Ecorse was continually required to adjust pay rates and fringe benefits for increases provided to its unions or was in costly arbitration arising from this problem.
Sick and vacation pay – The sick and vacation pay provisions provided virtually no limitations as to the number of days that could be accrued and paid at retirement, death or termination. In addition, the pay rates in effect at termination were used for the final payment. Further, the final payout for sick and vacation obligations accrued at termination were a component in the calculation of final average compensation in determining retirement benefits.
Staffing levels – The labor agreements applicable to the Police and Fire Departments had minimum staffing requirements. While the Police Department generally exceeded the agreed-upon staffing levels, the Fire Department was below the amount specified in the labor agreement. At the time of the receivership, the Fire Department had approximately six fewer personnel than was required by the labor agreement.
Several of Ecorse's departments were often used to provide patronage positions, most notably the Department of Public Works. It is not presently possible to estimate the number of positions or overall financial affect that practice had on Ecorse's financial condition. However, it is interesting to note that the Water and Sewer Fund payroll costs generally increased when the water and sewer rates were increased.