9/30/07

Michigan Gov.'s budget stunt: Layoff or Lockout?

Michigan State Police announced Friday afternoon that 90% of its staff will be laid off Monday, but within minutes the troopers' union denounced the action as a lockout by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and urged its members to report for duty anyway even though federal labor laws would probably stymie that move.

The state shutdown would leave 222 troopers and a handful of supervisors and emergency dispatchers on duty and all State Police posts and other worksites would be closed.

A wide range of services -- from truck weigh stations to criminal investigations and drug enforcement operations -- also would shut down. Specialized services would be reactivated only if it necessary in cases of "imminent threats to public safety, health and welfare," the State Police announced. In addition to the uniform troopers, 15 sergeants, three lieutenants and 27 emergency dispatchers would keep working.

However, Mike Moorman, president of the Michigan State Police Troopers Association, said in a prepared statement that "the backbone of this department" will be benched by the Governor's order.

Granholm "cannot say she is maintaining adequate essential services when the bulk of the state police are sitting at home, locked out from their worksites," Moorman said.

Union vice president Chris Luty said the troopers had taken an unconditional oath to protect the state's citizens and "we are calling on our members to continue to honor that oath and report for duty Oct. 1."

Moorman, in a telephone interview Friday evening, said he doesn't believe the department will allow troopers to ignore the shut-down by just showing up and patrolling.

"Federal labor laws say if you work, you have to be paid for it," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're a trooper or a factory worker. You have to be paid ."

He said 222 troopers will be stretched from the Ohio stateline to the western edge of the Upper Peninsula "and that's not good."

(freep.com)

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