Detroit’s Largest Union Withdraws Bing Endorsement
Detroit’s largest union, Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), has withdrawn its endorsement of Mayor David Bing for reelection. The organization will be supporting Tom Barrow, an accountant, instead.
“This decision is not based exclusively on the position the city has taken at the bargaining table,” said Albert Garrett, president of Michigan Council 25 of AFSCME, at a news conference Friday. “He promised to citizens that he was going to bring change and real solutions to real problems, but we have yet to see any instance where he brought an innovative approach.”
Garrett also noted Bing’s plans to decrease bus routes, privatize tax collections, and contract out the city’s payroll.
CEO of The Bing Group (No. 33 on the B.E. Industrial/Service Companies list with $130 million in revenues), Bing has been battling with the union over his plans to balance the city’s $300 million deficit by laying off more than 1,000 city workers. Bing also is asking workers to accept a 10% pay cut and give up benefits.
Michigan Council 25 represents more than 90,000 public workers across the state. AFSCME International represents 1.4 million public workers nationwide.
A retired NBA player, Bing came into office after defeating interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. in May. He now holds court in a city where the local economy is reeling from the struggles of a fallen auto industry, with an unemployment rate at 17.7% in July. He is completing the remainder of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s term after a sex scandal and perjury trial led to Kilpatrick’s resignation.
Along with Barrow, Bing faces write-in candidate Jerroll Sanders, in the Nov. 3 election.