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.
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 2015. 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.
Spring is here and it's time to register for the 25th Annual Carl Parsell Memorial Golf Outing, which will be held June 11, 2015 at the Links of Novi.
Register as an individual for $110 or foursome for $440 or sponsor a hole for $250. Click here for more information and to print registration and sponsorship forms, which are due by May 25, 2015.
The golf outing benefits The Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund, which was established in honor of Carl Parsell, a pioneer of the law enforcement union movement. Scholarships are awarded to Michigan Association of Police (MAP), Michigan Association of Public Employees (MAPE), and Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) members and their families who are motivated to improve society by enhancing their future careers through a college education.
Funds derived from the Carl Parsell Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing determine the number of scholarships to be awarded annually. The maximum award available per student is $2,500. Scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of May and will be formally recognized during the golf outing.
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.
What would I have done differently?
To our valued friends of MAFF:
Welcome to our inaugural column about financial and insurance matters. We hope to make this interesting and pertinent to those of you in the company. The main focus of these articles will be about saving and retirement; however, we will be happy to tackle any areas in this arena that are of interest or concern to you.
To begin with who we are: Stuart Raider, Peter Mendler and the Raider Dennis Agency have worked with the employees and members of MAFF for over 20 years regarding insurance and financial matters that pertain to their employees. Now here are our credentials:
Stuart Raider – President
Mr. Raider has been helping families prepare for their desired retirement lifestyle for nearly 35 years. He received his B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University and is both a Charter Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Mr. Raider has served as President of The Detroit Chapter of The Society of Financial Service Professionals and is also a member of The Financial & Estate Planning Council of Metro Detroit. He has both acted as a lecturer or Author for The Detroit Better Business Bureau, Corporate Magazine, Michigan Association of Police (MAP) and The Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) Newsletters. He is also a member of the Legendary Advisors Group and financial consultant to the Michigan Association of Police. He is also the recipient of the Prestigious Huebner Award.
Peter Mendler – Partner
Mr. Mendler has been helping families prepare for their desired retirement lifestyle for 30 years. He is also an Attorney and C.P.A. Mr. Mendler gained valuable tax information and experience, which he shares with his clients every day, from previous employment with General Motors Corporation and the Internal Revenue Service. Pete is an avid runner, enjoys losing at tennis and has four wonderful grandchildren. His goal, as much as possible, is for each client to feel they are his most important client. He is also a member of the Legendary Advisors Group and financial consultant to the Michigan Association of Police. Pete is also the President of the board of a local non-profit organization.
With regard to this column, we interviewed a number of retired fire fighters and asked them what they would have planned differently or done differently, regarding their retirement, if they could go back in time. The responses were mainly in three areas:
Thank you and good luck to all who applied for The 2015 Carl Parsell Scholarship. Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2015-16 school year.
In March and April, the Scholarship Selection Committee begins the selection process which is completed in May. Scholarship recipients will be notified of their status by the end of May. 2015 Carl Parsell Scholarship winners are formally recognized during the 25th Annual Carl Parsell Memorial Golf Outing on June 11, 2015.
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 .
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.