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Engineers Union Turns Up Heat On Detroit Schools In Boiler Dispute

March 4, 2015

An engineers union is suing to overturn a recent decision that allows the Detroit Public School system to have a single person watch over boilers in five separate district buildings.

Union officials say they want the Wayne County Circuit Court to enforce a city of Detroit requirement that a licensed engineer be on duty in each school building that uses a boiler for heat.

The school system was recently granted an exemption to that rule by Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department Board of Appeals allowing the district to have one engineer oversee the boilers in five school buildings.

District officials argued that computerized equipment could be used to check the status of boilers that did not have an engineer present.

But the Michigan Operating Engineers union counters that automated equipment cannot take the steps to stop a boiler from exploding if there is a problem with the safety devices involved.

The union cites a recent incident where a boiler exploded at a children’s center in Flint.