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Detroit's mayor reaches tentative deal with city firefighters

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(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
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The mayor's office and firefighters' union have agreed to a tentative deal on concessions aimed at cutting the city's budget deficit. Both sides say they wanrt to keep Detroit's finances out of the hands of a state-appointed emergency manager.

Mayor Dave Bing's office says Saturday in a release that the agreement still must be ratified by the 1,014 members of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.   Bing's office issued a written statement Saturday:

“This tentative agreement achieved necessary cost-savings through staffing and operational improvements without compromising public safety,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “In addition to this tentative agreement, I am especially pleased with the union’s efforts in resolving long-standing arbitration issues.”

The deal was reached Friday night. Details were not released. Bing had been seeking concessions on pensions and health care benefits.

The firefighters union released this statement on Saturday:

"These negotiations have been very dire, but we've done our best to meet the challenge," said Dan McNamara, president of Detroit Fire Fighters Association Local 344. 

Tentative concessions already have been reached with police unions and a coalition of unions representing Detroit's non-uniformed employees.

Bing is under pressure to stabilize the city's finances in order to avoid a state takeover and the appointment of an emergency manager.