A planned three percent raise for specific non-union state workers that was supposed to take affect this month was denied, which the Michigan Association of Governmental Employees filed unfair labor practices with the State of Michigan Civil Service Commission in response.
Judge William Hutchens ruled that Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her administration deliberately committed unfair labor practices on October 5.
The debate on whether the employees would get the raise has been going on since it was decided to rescind it back in 2009. The House voted against in March 2010, but those who were for the raise still had hope. "We're going to come back to this. We can't afford to let this go," Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said in March.
Director of the Office of State Employer Sharon Bommarito refused to testify before Hutchens, even with a subpoena. Hutchens criticized Bommarito for her actions.
"It is reasonable to conclude that at a minimum, Bommarito, the governor and her legal counsel concluded that the interest of saving $45 million outweighed the possibility of a negative outcome in an unfair labor practice hearing and made the decision to repudiate the consensus agreement, knowing full well that their actions may be violative of Civil Service Rules," Hutchens wrote.
According to mitechnews.com, Granholm spokesperson Katie Carey said the governor's office had no comment on any aspect of the ruling other than to say the administration plans to appeal to the Employment Relations Board.
"The decision-maker who decided that saving $45 million was worth the cost of a potential unfair labor practice charge ignored the fact that in the process she was destroying the better part of 30 years of trust that had been built up between the parties within this labor relations system," Hutchens wrote. "No such trust can be expected to exist at this point."