UAW's Bob King: Detroit workers' pensions 'should not be cut'

UAW's Bob King: Detroit workers' pensions 'should not be cut'

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UAW President Bob King UAW President Bob King
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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Worry coursing through Detroit has driven off-duty firefighters to the picket line and retired city workers to press conferences.

Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, and everything is on the table, including transforming terms of the city's pensions and eliminating retiree healthcare.

UAW President Bob King joined AFSCME leaders and politicians such as Bob Ficano for a news conference.

King said Detroit's bankruptcy is nothing like those of General Motors or Chrysler.

"We made many sacrifices, we made many changes, and we did not touch people's pensions because people's pensions are based on commitments and promises made over the years," King said.

Here is the difference. The auto industry got a federal bailout while Detroit not so much.

Still, union leaders said the city should go after outstanding tax revenue, not pensions and healthcare.

"This government has a responsibility to live up to the promises they've made to those workers, and those pensions should not be cut, and those workers' healthcare should not be cut," King said.

"I want to make sure that people understand they're going to continue to get pensions, but what we're talking about is the amount of under funded in the pensions, and we just have to deal with that. We have to come to an agreement on what that is, and we just have to move forward so people can know what to expect," said Bill Nowing, the spokesperson for the emergency manager.

Right now, Detroiters do not know what to expect. Unions and Detroit's pension boards are fighting this out in court.

Until everyone from city workers to retirees get clear details, that worry will not be going away.

There is a hearing scheduled Wednesday in bankruptcy court that will determine whether the lawsuits filed by the city's pension boards will be allowed to go forward.

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