By Steve Gunn
REDFORD, Mich. – Maybe it’s something in Michigan’s drinking water.
If so, we hope they export gallons of it to teachers unions around the nation.
For the second time in less than a month, news has emerged that a local Michigan teachers union has voluntarily accepted significant concessions to help its district erase a deficit and avoid ugly budget cutting.
A few weeks ago union concessions brightened the outlook in the cash-strapped Taylor school district. This time the good news comes from the Redford Union school district, which is facing a $4.1 million budget deficit.
Union officials recently reviewed the district’s deficit elimination plan that was filed with the state and decided it was not a good option. Details of that plan were not immediately available.
But the plan inspired the union to give back three percent of teacher pay for the current school year, and the decision was overwhelmingly approved by rank-and-file union members, according to report from HometownLife.com.
The concessions will equate to about $2,500 per teacher and will save the district about $428,000 this year, the news report said. District administrators and executives are also taking deep pay cuts, and the combined savings are expected to be close to $900,000 this year.
“Is it a tough pill to swallow? Yes it is,” Steve Losey, president of the Redford Union Education Association, was quoted as saying. “We were willing to give what we were able to give. We want to be made partners with regard to the financial decisions.
“My teachers believe in this district. My teachers still believe 100 percent in this district. We cannot let this place go. We are going to do anything we can to keep this place viable.”
Assistant Superintendent Greg McIntyre was impressed with the unselfish act of the union.
“I applaud them,” he was quoted as saying. “They got the same message we got. They came back and they decided to give back three percent from their bargaining unit.”