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Hundreds Protest Detroit Teachers' Contract

DETROIT (WWJ) - Hundreds of Detroit teachers and other union members staged a protest Thursday in front of the Fisher Building against their new contract.

Postal workers, the UAW and the AFL-CIO joined members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers who are upset that Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts imposed 10-percent pay cuts and other concessions.

Teachers union President Keith Johnson said the teachers didn't make the district's financial mess.

Teachers protest contract changes on July 19 in Detroit. (WWJ Photo/Sandra McNeil)

"We have watched the perpetual blend of money mismanagement, we have watched bonuses being paid to people we couldn't even identify what their jobs was," Johnson said.   "This is a heavyweight fight, and we just started."

Roberts, who was sent from Lansing to fix the district's financial mess, doesn't have to bargain under the state's new emergency manager law.

School Counselor Mona Lisa Kelly said she'll protest the contract all the way.

"My dad was a charter member of the union," Kelly told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeil. "I will strike if that's what it takes."

Another teacher, Titus Amati said he's willing to do whatever it takes.

"The imposed contract is absolutely unfair. It's not right," he said.

Johnson believe the community will stand behind them. He says Detroiters are tired of their teachers being disrespected.

District officials say that, even with the new contract in place, they're still facing a $73 million deficit.

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