The Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 is an act put in place to give the best benefits to an employee that is jointly hired by two cities. For example: City A and City B want to do a joint police force, City A wants to pay $50,000 with two weeks vacation and City B wants to pay them $40,000 with three weeks vacation. According to the Act the cities would have to pay $50,000 (City A) with three weeks vacation (City B). This is a big disincentive for cities that want to band together. This has lead to communities "cannibalizing" each other economically, where a city will give better tax incentives to a company that is in the next city, moving the jobs from the original city to the new city, and both governments losing money in the exchange.
Right now 6 cities are trying to band together; they are Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker and East Grand Rapids. The cities have been lobbying to fix the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967 because; they state the Act is preventing them from building a stronger economy in their area. They would like the respective cities to work together in drinking water, wastewater, transportation and other services, having the unit with best expertise leading in that area of service. The cities would like to take the example from above, and pay the police officers $45,000 with two weeks vacation, if the Act was redone..
In opposition of this is the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. They claim that more state jobs will be lost with this consolidation. The Union believes that the merger (which they are not opposed to) would result in lower wages and benefits, and that this would ultimately lead to layoffs and the "dumping" of contracts. With the 300 state workers that were just let go by Governor Granholm's executive order for the 2009 fiscal budget, and now this potential merger, President Paul Hufnagel of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union stated "it means some employees won't have jobs...if you can't ensure jobs, it doesn't mean anything. It's taking away everything they've worked for."