Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) press conference Thurs. Jan. 8. 2014 @ 10 A.M. Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park; ALL ARE WELCOME!
Detroit—Detroit active and retired workers, residents, and many others, have appealed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ confirmation of the bankruptcy plan of adjustment to the U.S. District Court. The appeal (Case No. 2:14−cv−14920−BAF−RSW) was accepted Dec. 30, 2014, with U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman and Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen presiding. (Click on Doc 8981 DAREA Notice of Receipt of Bankruptcy Appeal (1) (1).)
“Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision to impair our pensions and health benefits, and disregard the State of Michigan Constitution has forced us to appeal the confirmation of the Plan of Adjustment,” said Bill Davis, President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA). “We realize that these are uncharted waters, but we believe this decision must be challenged to prevent further attacks on us and to protect the generations to come.”
He added that the bankruptcy is an attack on a predominantly African-American workforce, and the nation’s largest Black-majority city.
DAREA was formed by rank-and-file Detroit retirees, active employees, and concerned citizens. In addition to cutbacks of city jobs, pension benefits, wages, and health care, it strips Detroit of virtually every asset, including the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the third largest in the country.
Even former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said at a press conference after the confirmation that the bankruptcy originated with Michigan Governor Snyder, not Detroiters, beginning in 2010.
It resulted from dictatorial, unlawful, premeditated actions by state government, under Public Act 436. The constitutionality of that act under the 14th Amendment, which guarantees “equal protection under the law,” is currently being challenged in the court of U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh.
The figure of a 4.5 percent reduction to retirees’ pensions cited by the media is false. Retirees will be cut far more than that because their annuities are being slashed 15 percent plus 6.75 interest. DAREA estimates that pensions will be reduced from 17 percent (no annuity claw-back) to 32 percent (with claw-back), annually. This increases to over an estimated 50 percent when you consider the elimination of health care and prescription cost coverage..
The income stabilization plan for retirees over 60 whose income is less than 105 percent of the poverty level is welfare and does not address the thousands of workers and retirees under 60, who are suffering the severest cuts, having lost their health care benefits as well as jobs, wages, and huge portions of their pension checks. Pension benefits were “earned” and should be restored as taken from all active and retired employees.
DAREA spokespersons and numerous retirees and city workers will be available to answer questions at the conference.
ALL SUPPORTERS ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!!
DETROIT ACTIVE AND RETIRED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (DAREA)
P.O. Box 3724 Highland Park, MI 48203
DAREA is very active and rapidly growing, with working committees on legal affairs, fund-raising, communications, and others. Members have begun a petition to the U.S. Justice Department which reads as follows:
The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association implore the U.S. Justice Dept, as soon as possible, to halt any and all pending alterations to retirement plans and to halt further transfers of wealth from the City of Detroit until an Open Civil Investigation has been conducted. Our civil liberties were violated by the State because the Michigan Constitution is contractually obligated to protect pensions. We request an independent, neutral voice of authority to sustain civil liberties versus restraining domination, and to ensure that the actions of the bankruptcy were legal, boundaries were not overstepped, and that rules and laws were followed to the letter and not by whimsical interpretations.
Sign the petition to Joyce R. Branda, Civil Division, U.S. Justice Department, Assistant Attorney, by clicking on:
DAREA says in its Call to Action, “We need your financial support, because the appeal process is very costly. We must be able to go the distance and it will take hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not to fight this judgment will allow this ultra conservative movement to set both workers and civil rights back and we cannot sit back and let that be a part of our legacy! . . . If we can get a minimum of 2,000 retirees to donate $200 we would raise $400,000 to put this plan into action.”
To donate to DAREA’s LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, click on http://www.gofundme.com/pensiondefensefund. Or checks can be made payable to the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), at P.O. Box 3724, Highland Park, Michigan 48203.
Mondays, 11 AM, at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, 12511 Woodward, Highland Park, 48203. To receive notices of meetings, updates on the appeal and events information please provide your email address and phone numbers via email at Detroit2700plus@gmail.com or call DAREA at 313-649-7018.
Read DAREA’s position statement at DAREA call.