Ann Arbor Approves AFSCME Contract

At  a special session convened to start at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, the Ann Arbor city council approved a new contract with its AFSCME union. The union is the city’s largest, with 280 230 members.

The agreement, which runs through Dec. 31, 2013, includes no across-the-board pay increases for the duration of the agreement. Under the new agreement, employees will make greater contributions to their pension and health care plans. Vesting in the pension plan for new hires will take place after 10 years and have an access-only style plan for retiree healthcare benefits.

The meeting took place despite concerns that it was not properly noticed to the public. The posting at city hall was not made in the glass case labeled for city council issues. The set of glass cases where meetings are posted is in a lobby of a building that was locked over the weekend, preventing continuous access to information about the special meeting for the 18 hours before it was held.

The 18-hour requirement is part of the statute that has been interpreted by the state attorney general to provide for 18-hour continuous accessibility of meeting postings. However, a recent court of appeals case, using a purely textualist approach, has interpreted the statutory requirement to be met, whether the posting is accessible or not. Some news organizations that subscribe to city notifications of special meetings under the state’s Open Meeting Act were not notified of Monday’s special meeting.

The council was keen to approve the contract before the 80-20 state legislation is signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder. The legislation will require public employees to pay 20% of their health care costs, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

This brief was filed from city council chambers on the second floor of city hall, where the special meeting took place. A more detailed report will follow: [link]