West Bloomfield union sues over pay cuts

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. — The West Bloomfield School District teachers union is suing the school district over recent 10 percent pay cuts, according to the WestBloomfieldPatch.

The West Bloomfield Education Association claims that the district violated the Michigan and U.S. constitutions when it imposed a new contract in March, the Patch reported. It wants Oakland County Circuit Court to require the district to maintain previous wages until the Michigan Employment Relations Commission rules on whether the board action constituted an unfair labor practice, according to the Patch.

The board voted to implement the contract on March 31, after 18 months of failed negotiations, according to the Patch. The union claims that the district began to implement the salary reduction before the board voted, when it prepared payroll checks in advance that reflected the lower wages, the Patch reported. The district said that, given the volume of payroll, it needed to plan in advance for the possible board action.

MERC will hear the case on July 7, according to the Patch. The district refused to comment on the lawsuit, the Patch reported.

In earlier reports, the Patch reported that the union offered what it said amounted to $3.7 million in spending reductions that included furlough days and off-schedule salary cuts,  while a board member said that the union’s offer reflected only “one-time” savings that would not balance the district’s budget in the long term.

WestBloomfieldPatch, “Teachers Union Sues West Bloomfield School District,” May 9, 2011

WestBloomfieldPatch, “West Bloomfield School Board Imposes Contract, 10% Pay Cut as Angry Teachers Protest,” March 31, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Teachers Picket as one of Michigan’s Wealthiest School Districts Faces Big Deficit,” Oct. 13, 2010