Strike talk in Detroit

DETROIT - Detroit teachers are among public employees threatening to strike in opposition to wage cuts, furloughs or other union concessions planned by city or school administrators, the Detroit Free Press reported.

About 180 representatives from the Detroit Federation of Teachers, AFSCME Local 207 and the activist group By Any Means Necessary held a rally to support maintaining current salaries and benefits in the city and school district and in opposition to privatizing public services, the Free Press reported.

"These people mean to destroy the city," said Steve Conn, a DFT union official and teacher at Cass Tech High School, according to the Free Press.

Karen Dumas, spokeswoman for Mayor Dave Bing, said he would have no comment on the rally. Bing is proposing a 10 percent pay cut for employees, eliminating longevity bonuses, imposing furlough days and curbing retiree health benefits, union leaders told the Free Press.

Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb has closed 29 schools and announced 2,500 layoffs.

Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.

Detroit Free Press, "Detroit unions threaten to strike over cuts," Aug. 6, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Make Unions Accountable for Illegal Strikes," Dec. 22, 2008