FLINT, MI – Flint firefighters have made peace with the city by approving a new concessionary contract but their union president is declaring war on the emergency manager law that he says allowed for it.
Trent Farnsworth, president of Flint Firefighters Local 352, said 69 firefighters voted for the deal, which includes a 20 percent cut in overall compensation, while 21 voted against it.
“I will be fighting from this day on,” Farnsworth said today about Michigan’s emergency manager law, formally known as Public Act 4.
“If (emergency manager Michael) Brown really wants to be productive, he should examine” how to transition the city to a city manager form of government, he said. “I’m a firm believer that the strong mayor form of government is archaic.”
The Flint Journal could not immediately reach a representative of Brown’s office for comment this morning.
Until now, Brown has been unwilling to discuss details of the tentative agreement with firefighters. The city has been talking with each of the six employee bargaining units.
Last week, two Flint police unions passed tentative contract agreements with the city.
Brown has said he wanted to have a plan this week for addressing union contracts as well as a 2013 budget and a deficit-elimination plan.
The city’s four public safety unions — three police units and the fire union — have all been operating under expired contracts for more than two years. The unions had been heading to arbitration prior to the state takeover.