Petition Update

Detroit Ruling on Bankruptcy Lifts Pension Protections

Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Washington, DC, DC

Dec 4, 2013 — Municipal workers and retirees said they were shaken by the developments, and unsure what to expect. Any cut to pensions, many said, would be crushing.

“The impact of this is going to be catastrophic on families like mine on fixed income,” said Brendan Milewski, 34, a Detroit firefighter who was seriously injured in an arson in 2010 and said he received a pension of $2,800 a month from the city. “Retirees are going to be put out of house and home. They’re not going to be able to afford a car, food or medicine.”

Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System, was blunt in his assessment. “This is one of the strongest protected pension obligations in the country here in Michigan,” he said. “If this ruling is upheld, this is the canary in a coal mine for protected pension benefits across the country. They’re gone.”

Ruling Makes Detroit Biggest City to Qualify for Bankruptcy
Ruling Makes Detroit Biggest City to Qualify for Bankruptcy
DETROIT - Detroit is eligible to shed billions in debt in the largest public bankruptcy ever in the United States, a federal judge ruled Tuesday, while also finding that the public pensions could be reduced during reorganization despite a provision in Michigan's Constitution.