District court and AFSCME Local 3308 agree on landmark contract

 On Wednesday, AFSCME Local 3308 ratified a contract with the Wayne County 36th District Court, resolving longstanding issues, allowing for streamlined operations and improved service to the public. Key elements of the deal – the first since 2006 – are the codification of a 10 percent pay cut and health care changes that had been previously challenged. Most importantly, the agreement includes reforms that reflect a new delivery model for more efficient services to court customers.

“This contract is a win-win for the court and our customers,” said Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael J. Talbot, special judicial administrator. “This agreement is the result of compromise and hard work by both parties. Certainly, it was difficult for the union to agree to these proposals but the tradeoff was to get certainty in a collective bargaining agreement and the opportunity to work together and streamline the operations of the court. In the end, this contract is in the best interest of the community and our employees. I want to acknowledge the union’s bargaining team for its hard work and long hours and commend the team and the employees on reaching a settlement.”

The new contract runs through June 30, 2015, and continues the significant restructuring of the court since Talbot’s appointment. For example, the pact dramatically reduces the number of job classifications and requires that promotions be based on competence, not seniority. Chief Judge Nancy Blount and a new administrative team worked hard to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to court employees and reflects the difficult times that the court and its funding unit, the City of Detroit, are facing.

“This is a tough contract, but it’s a fair contract,” said Blount. “I know that there is a relief in the court to have a collective bargaining agreement and have the protection and certainty of that contract. I commend both bargaining teams who worked long and hard to reach an agreement that was acceptable to our employees.”

Talbot also noted that the agreement is critical for the long-term financial and operational stability of the court. This agreement, made in cooperation with AFSCME, allows the court to move forward and continue to improve the delivery of the best possible services that it can to Detroit residents and court customers.

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