DETROIT – Detroit teachers walked the picket line Monday outside some city schools, defying a judge's order to return to work.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Susan Borman last week ordered teachers back to work Monday, which the district said would be used as a planning day. Superintendent William Coleman said he expected the union's 7,000 teachers and 2,000 support personnel to go to work Monday and for students to return to class Tuesday.
But officials with the striking teachers' union said that with no contract agreement, there was no telling whether teachers would obey a judge's back-to-work order.
About 30 teachers picketed outside Martin Luther King High School Monday morning,
"We are out here because of the benefits that they are trying to take from us," said Eumiller Corbitt, the union's representative at King High and a special education teacher with 37 years in the system. "We are concerned about the lack of support" from the district.
State law allows for fines or other kinds of discipline for Detroit Federation of Teachers members who ignore the back-to-work order, Coleman said.
The union struck Aug. 28 after rejecting a two-year contract that would have cut pay 5.5 percent and increased copays for health care. The district is seeking $88 million in concessions from the DFT to help close a $105 million deficit in its $1.36 billion budget for the fiscal year.
The strike began at the start of what was supposed to be a three-day week of preparation for classes, which had been scheduled to start last week. School administrators opened classes for a scheduled half-day Sept. 5, then canceled them indefinitely.