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Detroit Strikers Report Progress Toward Contract

July 22, 1986|JAMES RISEN | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT — Marathon bargaining that began Sunday afternoon and stretched into Monday morning made substantial progress toward a settlement in the six-day walkout that has crippled this city's bus service and garbage collection, a union spokesman said Monday.

Both sides have compromised on the key issue in the talks--wages--and progress has been made on a number of non-economic issues, said Phil Sparks, a spokesman for District Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the 7,000 striking city employees.

Sparks said the city is no longer sticking to its initial wage offer, which called for a 2% raise in the first year of a three-year agreement, with raises in the second and third years tied to the city's fiscal health. Although he refused to give details, he also indicated that the union is demanding less than the 26% raise over three years that it asked for initially.

No Details

City officials have refused to discuss details on their new wage offer.

Additional talks are scheduled today. Meanwhile, the city continued its efforts to obtain a court order to force the employees back to work.

The strike has stranded about 200,000 city residents who rely on the bus system each day, and so far has left more than 13,000 tons of garbage piled up in the city.

But Detroit's downtown business district has remained relatively free of garbage. Howard Shifman, an attorney for Teamsters Local 214, which represents sanitation workers who are honoring AFSCME's picket lines, said 85 to 100 garbage workers--out of a total of more than 600--are making pickups in the downtown area late at night, when union pickets are not blocking entrances to their job sites.

With the limited crews, the city has given priority to areas that attract the most out-of-town visitors, he said.

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