Saturday Jul 30, 201106:35 AM GMT
Detroit teachers vow to fight pay cuts
Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:26AM
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A file photo of Detroit public school teachers protesting layoffs
Public school teachers in Detroit, the US state of Michigan's largest city, say they will battle a decision to cut teachers' pay and increase healthcare costs.

Detroit public school teachers will have to take a ten percent wage cut and pay more for healthcare in what Detroit public schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said on Friday were "extreme measures" needed to address a financial emergency, Reuters reported.

Members of the teachers' union are opposed to the school system's plan to lower pays as part of the Detroit Public Schools' efforts to address a $327 million deficit.

"These wage concessions and healthcare cost-sharing plans are being implemented because we are in an extremely difficult financial period for Detroit public schools," Roberts said in a statement.

Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), which has 5,922 members, said the union will not accept Roberts' plan.

"He gave us his notice, now I'm about to take the action I need to," Johnson said this morning, declining to explain what that action will be.

When asked whether teachers would strike or not show up for school this fall or whether the union is considering legal action, Johnson replied without answering the question.

"At this point, I'm not going to say anything about what we are going to do. What he brought forth is not acceptable and will be not accepted by the DFT," he said.

A ten percent wage reduction would mean an average loss of $7,300 for each teacher returning this fall, DFT officials have said.

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