MAFF members will benefit immensely if proposed changes to Public Act 54 and the state Personal Property Tax are passed by the Legislature. Currently, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, Public Act 54 (PA 54) of 2011 freezes all wages and benefits of public employees and places the burden of health care, dental, vision, prescription or other insurance cost increases automatically upon those employees. The wage freeze also applies to step increases. House Bill 5097 (HB 5097) would exempt public employees who are eligible to participate in compulsory bargaining of labor disputes under Public Act 312 from provisions in PA 54 which restrict compensation and benefits after a contract expires and prohibit wage or benefit levels in a new contract from being retroactive. House Speaker Pro-tempore John Walsh is the primary sponsor of this bill, which would benefit police, fire fighters, dispatchers and EMT's alike. Walsh told Michigan Capitol Confidential, a Mackinac Center for Public Policy news service, that legislators did not expect PA 54 to apply to public safety employees covered under Act 312. In fact, police and fire fighters were told by legislators it wouldn't apply to them. Since the law conflicts with language in Act 312 of 1969, Walsh said the Legislature can choose between passing an amendment to the current law or litigation brought by public safety employee unions.
Carl Parsell Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing - June 9, 2016 at Links of Novi.
The Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund was established in 1991 in memory of the law enforcement union movement pioneer. Parsell spent an unparalleled career thinking about the welfare of the employees he represented, always taking effective actions to constantly improve their economic status, working conditions, and future. The scholarship continues his legacy of improving the lives and futures of others, through education. Scholarships are awarded each year to Michigan family members of MAP, MAPE and MAFF union members. Funds for the scholarships are derived from the Annual Carl Parsell Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing, which took place this year June 9, 2016.
MAP Sergeant’s daughter excels in academics, softball and helping others
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Meaghan Barch has all the makings of a successful college student – she works hard to achieve excellent grades, has been admitted to advanced academic programs, worked in a profession related to her field of study, is involved in athletics, and volunteers her time to help others. So it’s no surprise the daughter of Beverly Hills Village Police Sergeant Peter D. Barch has been honored as a Carl Parsell Scholarship winner this year.
“The Carl Parsell Scholarship would assist me in paying for my undergraduate schooling, as I will be paying for my own education,” wrote Barch in her scholarship application. “I will be attending Oakland University (OU) in a pre-medical program. Upon my completion, I will attend medical school to become an obstetrics gynecologist, pediatrician or medical examiner.”
Barch, a Utica High School student with a 3.7 GPA, was selected as one of three 2016-17 recipients of the $2,500 scholarship. She will pursue a degree in Biology at OU.
“She proved to be an overachiever and a class leader,” said her fourth grade teacher, Linda DeCumen of Flickinger Elementary. “Her vivacious personality, intelligence and subtle humility took the school by storm. ... Throughout her junior high and high school career, Meaghan shared the little time she had tutoring students who needed extra help in math and reading in my classroom. She continually amazes me with her endless accomplishments.”
Barch served as Historian for the National Junior Honor Society, was a National Honor Society member, and Secretary and President of French Club. She was awarded for Outstanding AP U.S. History Student, received an All-Academic Team Award in Freshman Soccer and was a player and referee for American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). She was also involved in Sideline Cheer for Basketball, AYSO Nationals Team Player in 2014, and Beyond the LJ, a club formed to build a school in Africa through fundraising.
Barch received awards for: “A” Honor Roll, Outstanding MST Student and the President’s Award for Educational Excellence. Her scholastic achievements include being accepted to both the Utica Center for Mathmatics, Science and Technology (MST) and Utica Community Schools Academy for International Studies, both prestigious academically talented programs. Barch had to choose which program to pursue and opted for MST. She was also dual-enrolled in college while in high school, attending Utica DEEP Medical Science program through the University of Michigan – Flint Campus.
In the community, she served as a preschool leader for Vacation Bible School at Peace Lutheran Church, participated in St. Jude Walk, was a tutor, event volunteer and VIP Buddy for AYSO, where she also coached the undefeated U8 Boys soccer team and coaches U8 Girls soccer.
Barch is employed at 1st Choice Physical Therapy as an office tech, where she performs patient intake, ultrasounds and electric stimulation. Barch said she received training in the medical techniques while on the job. She also works a second job at Palazzo Grande Banquet Halls, where she was recently promoted from waitress to floor manager. Her medical training includes an internship at Signature Dentistry of Rochester, where she observed dental procedures and made dental impressions.
In addition to the Carl Parsell Scholarship, Barch also received a four-year scholarship from OU for $3,000 annually for her high GPA and ACT score of 28.
Daughter of MAP members learned importance of protecting and serving
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Kelcie LaTour was raised by parents whose duty it is to protect and serve others, so it’s no surprise that she also wants to pursue a career focused on helping others - an attribute that made her even more attractive as one of this year’s Carl Parsell Scholarship winners.
“My parents have taught me how important it is to give back,” LaTour wrote in her scholarship application. “I started delivering Meals on Wheels with my mom and discovered it made me feel so good to be able to help people.”
LaTour’s parents, MAP members Jack LaTour, a St. Clair Shores Police Sergeant, and Tricia LaTour, a Sterling Heights Police Officer, have a lot to be proud of as Kelcie heads off to Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to pursue a Physician’s Assistant degree while playing softball at GVSU. She takes with her the $2,500 Carl Parsell Scholarship to help reduce her college costs. She also received a 10% GVSU Softball Scholarship.
“My goal is to work at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, helping children affected with cancer,” LaTour wrote. “After watching my father battle the disease, it has driven me to want to make a change in other people’s lives so they don’t have to suffer.”
At Dakota High School, LaTour was active in sports playing basketball, varsity softball and volleyball, and serving as 2016 Varsity Softball Team Captain. She received several county awards including: All District Team, MAC Red Division Honorable Mention, Macomb County Honorable Mention First Base, First Team MAC Red Division, 2015 All Region Team and All County 2nd Team, 1st Base, and was voted Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Year in 2013-15.
With a 3.3 GPA, she was on the Honor Roll all four years as well as Macomb Area Conference All Academic Team.
LaTour has helped her community through sorting food during the annual Post Office canned food drive; delivering Meals on Wheels to homebound area residents; volunteering at Miracle League Network helping handicapped children enjoy softball; and teaching younger girls the game of softball.
“I have volunteered at softball camps and given younger girls free hitting lessons in hopes of having more girls fall in love with the game of softball,” she wrote.
“She has an unbelievable knowledge of the game and she strives to do her best at all times and by doing so is able to elevate the play of those around her as well,” wrote Macomb Dakota Assistant Varsity Coach Mike Downey, in a letter of recommendation. “Kelcie is an excellent teammate who always encourages everyone.”
“I also broke and continue to hold multiple school softball records,” LaTour wrote in her application.
“She owns the records for home runs in a season and for a career and the records for runs batted in for a season and for a career,” wrote Dakota Varsity Softball Coach Rick Fontaine in a letter of recommendation. “She has never missed or been late for a practice, never gave up on her herself or her teammates during a game, and showed an eagerness to learn and improve herself every day. Kelcie is well-respected by her peers and is a player that teammates rally around.”
“During the summer I work for Bello Woods Golf Course and play on a high level competitive travel softball team,” she wrote, adding she also babysits year round to save money for college.
Son of MAFF fire fighter is dedicated volunteer in pursuit of nursing career
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Brandon Warda understands the importance of community service and already has a jump start on his career in nursing, earning him the honor of receiving one of three $2,500 Carl Parsell Scholarships for the 2016-17 school year.
Warda, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing, began working as a physical therapy tech while still attending Dakota High School in Macomb. He is the son of Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) member Jaroslaw Warda, a Macomb Township Fire Fighter who is also a design engineer at FCA Group.
Warda, who has a 3.6 GPA, plans to attend Oakland University. He works at Health Quest Physical Therapy in Shelby Township where he helps patients with their exercises and therapeutic procedures as directed by the Physical Therapist. A dedicated community volunteer, Warda was hired at Health Quest after volunteering there for three months. He also works a second job as a cook and dishwasher at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.
“Within the last four years, I have participated in many activities and clubs including Key Club, National Honor Society, my high school boy’s soccer team, and many volunteer activities,” Warda wrote in his application. “I have participated in volunteer groups to better people outside of my school, such as tutoring elementary school children at the Boys and Girls Club as well as participating in my church as an altar boy.”
In school, Warda received recognition for academics, including being on Honor Roll every semester, good behavior and good acts. “Besides academics, I am also fluent in Polish,” he said. “That was actually my first language from when I was a kid. I would like to study abroad (in Poland) if I am able to.”
“By being able to become a nurse, I can pay back my community by possibly becoming a first responder in aid of patients that are in need of my help. If I was to work in the ICU or emergency services, I would be a first responder once they come into the building,” Warda said. “I’m hoping in the future to become a nurse practitioner.”
“This is the first contract for the Chelsea Area Fire Authority bargaining unit. They previously were not an organized group,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Ron Palmquist. “With the help of a state mediator, we were able to work out a final agreement that we believe is fair and equitable for both the employees and CAFA. They now have a collective bargaining agreement that both the Employer and the employees will live by. MAFF is well known for enforcing their member contracts. They agreed to pay a little bit more (toward health care and pension) in order to get the increased wages that we were able to get them. They will have a health care savings account to fund their health care when they retire - that’s not happening too often anymore. Fringe benefits were improved significantly with increased earnings and accruals in time off and the establishment of a Longevity benefit for Paid-on-Call employees when other departments are taking Longevity away.”
** First contract with MAFF.
Contract Duration: 2-year agreement, effective 1-1-15 to 12-31-16.
Wage Increases: Wage increases during the term of the contract as follows:
- 39% increase for Paid-on-Call.
- 23% increase for full-time Fire Fighters.
- 17% increase for Captains.
Union Benefits: Employees are now “Just Cause” Employees not “At-Will” Employees. Employees now have a grievance procedure with binding arbitration and a Union to represent them in resolving disputes that arise between the Employees and Administration.
Fringe Benefits: Paid Time Off (PTO) increased from a maximum of 288 hours to a maximum of 384 hours earned per year. Brought Employer in line with FLSA in determining overtime pay, which resulted in back pay for Fire Fighters. One additional Holiday for a total of 10 Holidays. Up to $500 per year Longevity payments for Paid-on-Call Fire Fighters. Additional 50 cents per hour premiums for Apparatus & Equipment Maintenance Officer, Fire Prevention/Education & Public Information Officer, MIOSHA & Information Technology (IT) Officer, Quality Assurance (Reports) & Billing Officer and Training & Continuing Education Officer.
Health Care: Employees will pay 2% of health care premiums. The Employer is opting out of PA 152 and reimbursing employees for co-pays and deductibles. Employer will pay $150 a month into a MERS Health Care Savings Program account for each full-time employee for the employee to use to fund their retiree health care.
Retirement: Maintained MERS defined benefit retirement plan increasing the multiplier by .25 cents, reducing FAC to 3 years, and adding the COLA rider E-2, 2.5% non-compounded.
Bargaining Team: Labor Relations Specialist Ron Palmquist with Association President Ian Ballard, former Association President Augustine (Augie) Syrovy, Association Secretary/Treasurer Scott Basar and Association POC Representative Chuck Downer.
Are You Ready To Retire?
Many of us think age dictates when we retire, and it does in those jobs/professions that have mandatory retirement ages. Some of us have pre-set ages in our minds; 55, 60, 62, 65. These ages can be based on reaching a certain number of years of service (i.e. 30 and out) or when your mom or dad retired; what your spouse expects, or tradition. But the question is.....are you ready?
There are two viewpoints to consider with this question: The inner you and the financial you. Both are equally important.
The Inner You
This is the area of ego (especially for us men), emotion, psychology, feeling productive, etc. We have worked all our adult lives, contributed to society, made the world a better place, and now we are done. The sudden end to the positive feelings we get from being productive can be difficult to deal with. What makes me important if I don’t have my career? Or what makes me significant if I’m not bringing home the paycheck? We must remind ourselves that we still have important meaningful roles to fulfill as spouse, parent and grandparents - our best roles! We can become invaluable assets to charities, such as churches, hospitals and children’s organizations.
What we have observed that what works best is to have some type of passion that occupies at least a part of the 168 hours God gives us every week and also occupies a portion of our minds.
When clients come to see us near retirement they will tell us of the thing that they will throw themselves into (i.e. golf) and will do this every day (36 holes a day!). Guess what happens? After two or three months (or four or five) they are sick of the activity. So when people tell us they are going to retire, we always engage them in two different, but equally important questions.
1. Are you aware retirement is an irrevocable decision? Once you retire, if you change your mind in six months your job will probably not be waiting for you. Be sure of your decision!
2. Imagine tomorrow is you first day of retirement. What does it look like? What are you doing? How do you feel?
If you are planning to retire in the next year think about these questions very thoughtfully. It is critically important that you mentally prepare for retirement just like you would a marathon or big test.
“They got 3 percent a year in wage increases, so 9 percent overall. Their increase in Longevity was 2 percent per year, which was pretty big,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O’Connor. “Any special call outs, like HAZMAT were paid at double time.”
Contract Duration: 3-year agreement, effective 4-1-15 to 3-31-18.
- 3% wage increase each year of the contract for 9% total.
- Fire Officers annual salaries increase by $100 each year of the contract.
Retirement: Add language for proration of Longevity.
Longevity increases by 2% as follows:
- 5 to 10 years 4%
- 11 to 15 years 6%
- 16 or more years 8%
Fringe Benefits: Add Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as Holidays. All Holiday Pay hours will be compensated at double time. Add Fire Fighters responding to a Specialized County Team Rescue Activation Call (i.e. HAZMAT, Tech or Water Rescue) shall be paid double time their regular hourly rate of pay for all time spent on the activations.
Manning & Safety: All posted assignments (public education events) shall indicate if the assignment is paid or unpaid. Special Duty Assignment is defined as any assignment that is above or beyond the normal duties of a Paid-On-Call Fire Fighter. Job Postings language for all openings including: promotions, transfers, special team assignments, special duty assignments, mentor assignments or any other Fire Fighter job opportunities, should be posted for 30 days and the postings shall contain the requirements and qualifications for the posted position.
Bargaining Team: Labor Relations Specialist Joe O’Connor with Association President Dave Music.
If you, a family member or friend is struggling with depression, hopelessness, addiction or a physical disability, Hough Counseling and Assessments can help. And there are no out-of-pocket costs for people with medical insurance through C.O.P.S. Health Trust as Hough will waive all co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles in 2016. Hough is owned and operated by Tami Hough, the wife of retired Detroit Police Officer Tom Schneider, who helped develop and run C.O.P.S. Health Trust. Our licensed counselors are familiar with the traumatic events fire fighters must endure on the job. We provide a full range of behavioral health services to clients of all ages and assessments in many areas including: academic achievement, ADHD, career exploration, cognitive and intellectual ability, substance abuse and psychopathology. Our Certified Rehabilitation Counselors specialize in all types of disabilities and our Consulting Psychiatrist assists patients who may need medication and/or hospitalization. The office is located in Troy, in the same building as MAFF corporate offices.
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
James Gatteno, a Captain with Detroit Emergency Medical Service (EMS), was the first among his peers to complete cross training to become a Detroit Fire Fighter.
Gatteno graduated from The Detroit Fire Department Regional Training Center for The Trial Fire Fighters Class of Nov. 3, 2014. MAFF Labor Relations Specialist James Steffes showed the union's support by attending the graduation ceremony April 2, 2015 at Cobo Hall Convention Center in Detroit.
"I was kind of surprised when I came walking across and saw him standing there," Gatteno said.
Steffes recognized what a special achievement Gatteno had obtained. "He is the first supervisor from EMS to be cross-trained in the fire fighters unit," said Steffes, who represents Detroit EMS Captains and Lieutenants. "We want to say congratulations on a job well done - successfully completing the 22-week training period and we wish you the best going forward."
"It was something I always wanted to do," said Gatteno, also a Tactical Medic for Wayne County Sheriff's Department, providing medical service when the SWAT team responds to incidents. "I teach the Tac Medic courses out at Macomb Community College. I have lots of certifications," said Gatteno, who has police reserve training for his Special Deputy position with Wayne County. "I have an overwhelming urge to take new courses, learn new things."
It was quite an accomplishment for the 45-year-old father of three to keep up with the young recruits, but he was prepared. "I joined the Army at age 17 and turned 21 in Iraq during Desert Storm," Gatteno said. "Everything I've done has been a physical job."
He was grateful for the opportunity because he couldn't afford to do the training on his own. "Most fire academies are 10 weeks long and you're paying them," Gatteno said. "I couldn't go and not be getting paid for it." Gatteno excelled in the program, graduating with a 96 G.P.A. out of 100. "I went through the academy with some of the very best people who will be working for the city," he said.
Milford joins MAFF to give them a voice, improve communications
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Milford Paid On-Call Fire Fighters voted to join Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) March 17 to improve communications between themselves and the township.
"I think the main agenda for us was having a voice at the table and truly trying to establish a joint process on any changes and issues that might arise with the township," said Local Union President Martin Cook, adding that a contract allows them to be proactive rather than reactive. "Overall we view it as a very positive move that we're going to have this interaction through MAFF to straighten out any issues that may be present. My vision for our Local is that we effect a true culture change at the Milford Fire Department. I believe we can build a relationship with the Township where we proactively collaborate on issues effecting the department and municipality."
Milford Fire Department services both Milford Township and the Village of Milford and has 24 Paid On-Call Fire Fighters.
"They weren't organized at all," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Ron Palmquist. "They just want to make sure their wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment are all codified into a document that everybody has to live with. Having one collective voice to meet and negotiate with the employer and have an agreement with both sides. I'm not so sure they have a lot of issues with benefits they are currently being provided with other than really getting it down on paper," Palmquist said, adding it is important everyone is treated equally and a contract ensures that.
IAFF issues statement urging fire fighters, paramedics to hold Ebola stand-downs
Excerpted from ohsonline.com
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is warning it is "highly likely that more individuals infected with Ebola will seek assistance from emergency response personnel as the disease spreads," and urging fire and EMS personnel to hold a safety stand-down and review all infectious exposure policies, procedures and guidelines.
The AFL-CIO union that represents more than 300,000 full-time firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada, has posted a statement which lists 11 minimum elements IAFF says those policies, procedures and guidelines should address.
They include: not returning to the firehouse if there is a potential exposure or the crew thinks they have been affected; developing policies for monitoring and management of EMS personnel potentially exposed to Ebola; fit testing all personnel for N95 respirators and appropriate eye protection; and establishing sick leave policies that are "non-punitive, flexible and consistent with public health guidance."
The policies should ensure fire and EMS personnel exposed to blood, bodily fluid, secretions, or excretions from a patient with a suspected or confirmed Ebola virus immediately:
• Stop working and wash the affected skin surfaces with soap and water and irrigate with a large amount of water or eyewash solution.
• Contact an occupational health supervisor for assessment and access to post-exposure management services.
• Receive medical evaluation and follow-up care as appropriate. Medical evaluations should include fever monitoring twice daily throughout the Ebola incubation period, which is two to 21 days.
Click here for a complete list of guidelines.
MAPO representatives recently joined Gov. Rick Snyder (center) for the formal signing of HB 5097. From left to right are: Matt Kurda, Karoub and Associates, legislative advisor to MAPO, Rep. John Walsh, sponsor of the bill, Police Officers Labor Council Executive Committee Chair Paul Combs, MAPO Secretary/Treasurer and Michigan Association of Fire Fighters Director Fred Timpner, and Mike Sauger, President Warren POA and MAPO Executive Board member.
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor with excerpts from www.michigan.gov
The wait has been long, but Gov. Rick Snyder approved a measure which removes Act 312 eligible public safety employees from earlier legislation restricting their collective bargaining rights. Snyder passed Public Act 322 of 2014, introduced by Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia); honoring his earlier statements that he would support this change to Public Act (P.A.) 54 of 2011.
"Police officers and firefighters risk their lives daily to protect citizens across our state," Snyder said. "This legislation helps ensure these first responders continue to receive full compensation regardless of the status of their contract."
Under P.A. 54, once a contract expired public employees' wages were frozen, there were no step increases and no longevity - pay increases based on years of service. The law also prevented public employees from receiving retroactive wage or benefit increases greater than those in effect on the expiration date of the previous contract. P.A. 54 took one more swing at public employees by allowing employers to pass on up to 100 percent of health care cost increases once a contract expired.
HB 5097, now P.A. 322, no longer prohibits wage or benefit increases, including step increases, authorized under the expired contract for Act 312 eligible public employees. The law also does not prohibit retroactive application of a wage or benefit increase if the increase is awarded by an arbitration panel to a negotiated contract.
"It allows us to be able to negotiate retroactivity," said MAFF Director Fred Timpner.
Furthermore, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, Act 312 eligible employee costs for health care, dental, vision, prescription or other insurance benefits shall not exceed the employee's share under the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act. This Act requires the employer to pay no more than 80 percent and the employee to pay 20 percent or more of health care costs or choose a Hard Cap. The Hard Cap for the employer is:
• $5,500 times the number of employees with single coverage, plus
• $11,000 times the number of employees with two person coverage, plus
• $15,000 times the number of employees with family coverage.
The amount necessary to purchase health insurance for employees that exceeds this "cap" must be paid by employees.
P.A. 322, which is supported by Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) and Karoub Associates, legislative consultants for MAFF, takes affect immediately.
FIREFIGHTERS WORK RIGHTS EXPANDED
Snyder also signed HB 4624, now known as Public Act 323, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Haveman, which gives public fire department employees the right to work on a volunteer, part-time or on-call basis at another fire department as long as the employment does not conflict with their full-time fire fighter position. Public Act 323 adds fire fighting to the list of suitable part-time or volunteer positions allowed for fire fighters within their collective bargaining agreements.
"The raises are on par with what they gave other city workers. The promotional procedure was important because we have a set pattern of how were going to do it. It would take seven or eight years to be eligible for promotion previously. Now they have to be there five years and work at least 2,000 hours in that five-year period," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O'Connor. "Captains and Lieutenants were required to attend meetings and they weren't being paid for them. They were receiving stipends and the City argued that was their payment. Now they're receiving their hourly rate of pay for going to these meeting and the stipend stayed the same. That was a significant gain for them. The Employer has agreed to promote two Lieutenants for each one of the stations. They currently don't have that manpower."
Contract Duration: 4-year agreement, ratified Sept. 7, 2014, and effective 6-30-13 to 7-31-17.
Wage Increases: 2% wage increase upon contract ratification.
• $200 one-time stipend effective 9-26-14 paid to all current members as Employer is now paying Employees their earnings one week later instead of paying their wages in the week they earn them.
• $400 stipend to current members (equals 2% pay increase for average paid-on-call) effective 7-1-15.
• 2% wage increase effective 7-1-16.