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Michigan public sector unions to jointly bargain with Gov. Snyder

The five big unions that represent the majority of Michigan’s 50,000 state workers will join forces to bargain with Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, which is seeking $145 million in concessions.

The Detroit News reports that the UAW Local 6000, the Service Employees International Union Local 517M, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25, the Michigan Corrections Organization, and the Michigan State Employees Association plan to bargain as one unit.

Under the change, the unions would bargain jointly on economic issues but maintain separate contracts and continue to bargain separately on noneconomic issues.

Contracts that spell out economic issues for the unions don’t expire until Sept. 30, 2012. But the administration wants to open existing contracts to find $145 million in employee savings during the fiscal year that begins a year earlier. Negotiations between the Office of State Employer and the UAW started July 26.

Earlier this year, the same unions teamed up to issue a report on ways the state could save money. The report focused on reducing the number of managers and cutting the cost of state contracts with private companies.

Snyder has demanded $95 million in concessions from corrections workers.

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