Detroit is taking on its other union problem 

Having gotten its bailout, the UAW remains alive, albeit on life support. The private-sector union that boasted over 700,000 members just ten years ago has rebounded modestly from 355,000 to 376,000 members, thanks to the $80 billion bailout of the domestic automakers. (Without the bailout, they would have at least slipped to 250,000, and possibly much further if suppliers had suffered badly enough.)

The public-sector unions in Michigan, though, are not getting it so good. Thanks to new legislation signed by Gov. Rick Synder, R, Detroit's teachers' union will be the first to face the music, the Wall Street Journal reports:

A new state law has emboldened the Detroit mayor and schools chief to take a more aggressive stance toward public unions as the city leaders try to mop up hundreds of millions of dollars in red ink.

Robert Bobb, the head of the Detroit Public Schools, late last week sent layoff notices to the district's 5,466 salaried employees, including all of its teachers, a preliminary step in seeking broad work-force cuts to deal with lower enrollment....Mr. Bobb, already an emergency financial manager for the struggling and shrinking public school system, is getting further authority under a measure signed into law March 17 that broadens state powers to intervene in the finances and governance of struggling municipalities and school districts. This could enable Mr. Bobb to void union contracts, sideline elected school-board members, close schools and authorize charter schools.

Snyder maintained a low profile throughout the rancorous Battle of Wisconsin, but the reforms he has signed so far are comparable in their scope and importance to the changes that got Scott Walker into the unions' frying pan.

About The Author

David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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