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.
All Local Executive Board Members and Local Stewards are encouraged to attend a series of Grievance Seminars being held on Fridays at the MAFF Office. The Seminars, being conducted by MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner, will provide valuable information on key grievance issues.
Seminars on Feb. 26, April 22 and June 24, 2016 will focus on contract interpretation. Discipline will be discussed at the Seminars on March 18 and May 20, 2016. Each Seminar begins at 10 a.m. and lunch will be served. Details can be found on the website Calendar.
These Seminars are limited to 12 persons on a first-come basis. Please contact Julie Palmquist at (248) 509-7160, ext. 231 as soon as possible to make reservations.
The deadline to submit applications for the Carl Parsell Scholarship is fast approaching and this year applicants stand an even better chance of winning.
Due to an increase in funds raised because of the excellent turnout at the 2015 Annual Carl Parsell Golf Outing, MAFF will be offering up to three scholarships this year to family members of union members. In years past, MAFF has offered up to two $2,500 scholarships based on funds raised.
Interested applicants should complete the application form and submit it no later than March 1, 2016 to be considered for the 2016-2017 school year. For more information, read the complete scholarship application instructions.
Good luck applicants!
“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.
Scholarship winner has impressive resume, personality
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Carl Parsell Scholarship winner Marisa Reiss took challenging honors courses while attending Dakota High School, but that didn’t stop her from volunteering her time with various organizations and working with special needs students.
The daughter of Michigan Association of Police (MAP) member William Reiss, a City of St. Clair Shores Police Sergeant, was awarded the $2,500 scholarship for the 2015-16 school year. Marisa, who graduated with a 3.56 GPA from Dakota High, will be attending Michigan State University to major in Biology/Pre Med.
Marisa was in the National Honor Society, on the honor roll all four years, and enrolled in various Advanced Placement classes. She was in Dakota’s Medical Careers Program and employed as a secretary with Macomb Intermediate School District at Glen H. Peters School for special needs students.
“Through my medical internship at Dakota, I have the opportunity to work at Glen H. Peters School ... for mentally and physically disabled students,” Marisa wrote on her application. “This scholarship will provide much needed assistance to achieve my degree in the medical careers program.”
A Macomb Township resident, Marisa has 80 plus hours of community service, has participated in Dakota’s Varsity Dance Team for three years, and was awarded multiple MAC Red Academic Awards for athletics. She volunteers with St. Clair Shores Cops for Kids, which provides financial assistance to less fortunate families in St. Clair Shores throughout the year, serving 85 families with 300 children over the Christmas holiday. She also volunteers through the National Honor Society and at St. Malachy Catholic Church Summer Festival each year, which fundraises to assist the parish community.
“Marisa has earned her academic success, while taking many challenging, rigorous courses such as Honors Chemistry, AP Chemistry, AP Biology and AP Psychology. Marisa’s resume is impressive, and equally as impressive is her personality,” wrote Dakota High School Principal Paul Sibley in a letter of recommendation. “Marisa is the type of person that will make an institution better, create a more positive work place, and will represent everyone in her life well.”
Scholarship awarded to school leader
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Chad Quick’s proven leadership ability coupled with academic achievements and volunteer work helped him become one of two $2,500 Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund winners for the 2015-16 school year.
The son of Michigan Association of Public Employees (MAPE) member Chris Quick, City of Novi Lead Mechanic, Chad graduated with a 3.95 GPA from Detroit Catholic Central High School. He will be attending University of Notre Dame to major in Civil Engineering.
Chad was a Student Council Member, Senior Class Treasurer, Kairos Retreat Leader, JV Soccer Captain of the high school team and member of the National Honor Society. He received the Gabriel Richard Academic Award, President’s Award for Educational Excellence, A.P. Scholar Award and Catholic League All-Academic in 2014. Chad’s soccer team was district champions in 2013 and Catholic League Champions. He was awarded All-District, All-Region and All-State Honorable Mention for soccer. Chad was involved in Club Soccer, track and field, basketball and Art Club.
A United States Soccer Federation Grade 8 Certified Referee, Chad volunteers as a Parish Usher at Our Lady of Victory in Northville and served in the Boy Scouts as a Troop Guide and Life Scout and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He also participated in the Peanut Butter and Jelly Outreach, preparing food and collecting clothing for the needy. Chad built a 24-foot pole barn at Maybury State Park in Northville for his Eagle Scout project.
“I have been so active in my school and community, especially in pursuing my Eagle Rank, that I have been unable to work during the year to earn money for college,” Chad wrote in his application. “The Carl Parsell Scholarship would help me afford the University of Notre Dame. Earning a degree in Civil Engineering from Notre Dame would enable me to build municipal, domestic and environmental structure to enrich my community in the future.”
Chad, a Plymouth resident, also received an Army R.O.T.C. Scholarship.
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 this year’s recipients were derived from the 25th Annual Carl Parsell Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing, held June 11,, 2015.
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.
Michigan Association of Fire Fighters, Michigan Association of Police and Michigan Association of Public Employees is pleased to announce that we are moving our offices to Troy effective Feb. 1, 2015.
Our NEW address is:
667 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy MI 48083
Phone: (800) 368-1159 or (248) 509-7160Fax: (248) 509-7176
All individual cell phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.
We are excited about the move and look forward to the change. Please feel free to stop by anytime to visit your new union office .