Detroit Water announces disciplinary action for workers in illegal strike

Officials from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees negotiated a resolution to end an illegal strike at the wastewater facility.

DETROIT, MI, Oct. 8, 2012 -- Officials from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) of Council 25 negotiated a resolution Thursday afternoon to end an illegal strike at the wastewater treatment plant. As part of that resolution, Director Sue F. McCormick held disciplinary hearings with the three local union leaders who led employees to walk off the job and the 33 employees who abandoned their jobs to follow them.

The agreement reached last week recognized that DWSD and its employees are responsible for the operation of facilities that are critical to the public health and safety of the region, and as a result, the resolution involved discipline for all employees whose actions threatened the public health and safety.

After completing over 10 hours of individual disciplinary hearings on Friday, McCormick today announced final disciplinary actions. "We recognize that many employees who walked away from operating equipment were misled into believing that there would be no penalty for their actions," said McCormick. "Those 33 employees will receive a five-day unpaid suspension, and each has executed a last-chance agreement that provides that the employee may be terminated without recourse for any future disciplinary event that is punishable by a suspension. Each has made a personal commitment that these actions will not occur again."

McCormick also announced that the union leaders from Local 207 who orchestrated the job abandonment received discipline that is twice as severe as the workers who followed them. Those three employees are suspended without pay for 10 days and are subject to the same last-chance agreements as the other employees.

"I want to thank the many DWSD employees who performed their jobs and gave extra effort so we could continue serving our customers during the illegal strike," said McCormick. "I'm pleased that the operations have now returned to normal; I'm hopeful that contract negotiations will now resume in earnest to reach a new collective bargaining agreement."

DWSD supplies high-quality drinking water to Detroit and 126 communities in southeast Michigan. The Department provides wastewater services to Detroit and 76 other southeast Michigan communities.

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