Thursday, December 11, 2014


WASHINGTON -  Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr.  (MI-13) issued the following the statement concerning the City of Detroit emerging from bankruptcy:

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
“I believe all stakeholders – citizens, elected officials, organized labor, clergy, and the private sector – need to continue to work collaboratively to help Detroit grow and prosper in the 21st Century.  We know that Detroit’s potential is unlimited, and I look forward to working every day to improve our great City.

“It is disturbing that the bankruptcy court established a very dangerous precedent last year by holding that pensions and retiree benefits can be diminished in bankruptcy, notwithstanding the clear statement in the Michigan constitution.  We should not subvert the very principle that made Detroit great – respect for workers’ rights.  Putting the pensions of our police officers, firefighters, and other municipal workers on the chopping block repudiated not only the State law, but our City’s working class history and heritage.  Although in the end a compromise was achieved to resolve this case, I fear that the precedent could be used in other cases to the disadvantage of hard working public employees.  That is why I have introduced legislation, the “Protecting Employees and Retirees in Municipal Bankruptcies Act of 2014” (H.R. 5133), to respond to this problem.

“With the resignation of emergency manager Kevin Orr, Detroit will be returning day-to-day control to its duly elected leaders, although subject to continued state oversight.  Non-elected emergency managers should not run Detroit, nor any other city or political subdivision as it is anti-democratic and inconsistent with our principles as a city, state, nation.

“Now that the City has emerged from bankruptcy, Congress and the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings concerning the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and consider the ramifications for other financially troubled cities in the future.”
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