UPDATE: 1:08 p.m.– U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox issued a temporary strike injunction Monday morning, prohibiting Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) workers from interfering with the DWSD’s operations.
About 40 employees walked off the job Sunday morning to strike against proposed job cuts.
Bob Warfield a spokesman for Detroit’s Mayor Dave Bing said in a release that the mayor was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“It is imperative that there be no interruption in the service or an impact on the quality of water provided to our citizens or any negative impact on the environment,” he said.
Attorneys for AFSCME Local 207 have scheduled a press conference at noon Monday to respond to Judge Cox’s temporary injunction, which they believe to be an illegal restraining order.
A hearing for a permanent injunction is scheduled for October 11.
PREVIOUSLY: About 40 workers from Detroit’s waste water treatment plant walked off the job Sunday morning to picket against proposed job cuts, the Detroit News reports.
In September, the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners approved a four-year $48 million no-bid contract with the Minnesota-based EMA consulting firm, which has proposed cutting the department’s staff by 81 percent.
The action follows a strike authorization approved by AFSCME Local 207, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s largest union, on Sept. 27 in the event that contract negotiations failed, Voice of Detroit reports. Local 2920, which represents clerical and other DWSD staff, authorized a similar proposal on Sept. 25.
AFSCME Local 207 President John Riehl told The Huffington Post in April that the local had been considering a strike in regards to a deal authorized by U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, as well as the signing of the Detroit’s consent agreement with the state of Michigan.
“Either we go on strike and take a more combative position or they destroy us. There’s going to be a lot of conflict coming up — a lot of union contracts to negotiate,” he said.
Last year Judge Cox authorized an arrangement giving suburban residents more input over the Detroit Water Board. The city’s consent agreement includes a plan to restructure city services and collective bargaining agreements.
The city’s water department provides drinking water to 4.3 million residents in Detroit and 126 neighboring Southeast Michigan communities.