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.
MAFF union members and their families are invited to apply for The Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund. Applicants must submit their fully completed, signed application by March 2, 2015.
The mission of The Carl Parsell Scholarship Fund is to assist members and their families who are motivated to improve society by enhancing their future careers through a college education. Carl Parsell Scholarships are awarded to deserving college bound students who desire assistance with their college tuition.
Carl Parsell Scholarships may be used to cover a portion of educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, and other required fees during the 2015-2016 school year. Scholars may use the award to attend any United States accredited university, college, community college, junior college, two or four year accredited degree-granting institution, or vocational training institution that grants a certification or license. Scholarship candidates must have completed a high school education or its equivalent, on or prior to June 30, 2015.
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.
Click on the Scholarships tab on the MAFF website to apply and for more information.
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 Fall 2014 edition of Flashpoint publication is now available. Click below to read on.
"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.
"The big thing was the stand-by time, the increase in that wage. That went up by almost $3 an hour, but that was to offset the loss of hours they are faced with due to the Affordable Care Act. They increased the pay for everything else with the exception of the EMS runs," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O'Connor. "The number of paid holidays was increased by five and it's the day the city recognizes (the holidays) on. If the city celebrates on Friday, they can work the Friday, get the time and a half and stay home with their family on the holiday itself. The grievance procedure was more clearly defined. We established a panel of arbitrators to select from and a procedure to select the arbitrators in lieu of paying AAA."
Contract Duration: 4-year agreement, ratified June 24, 2014, and effective 7-1-13 to 6-30-17.
Wage Increases: Paid-on-call fire fighters when toned out receive:
$26 per hour for Fire Rescue runs, a 4% increase.
$23.50 per hour for EMS runs, a 6% reduction.
$20 per hour for Stand-by-Duty, a 15.6% increase.
$18 per hour for Meetings, a 4% increase.
Tone out runs were previously paid at $25 per hour. To help offset the increases in Stand-by and Meeting pay, the Employer separated the toned out runs into two categories, Fire Rescue (increased by $1 per hour) and EMS (reduced $1.50 per hour). POC are expected to make up the loss of pay for EMS runs through the pay increases in other areas.
• POC Officers monthly stipend was increased by $25 per month:
Captain $275, a 10% increase.
Lieutenant $233, an 11.8% increase.
Sergeant $192, a 15% increase.
• Instructors pay increased to $20 per hour, a 5% increase.
MAFF wins lawsuit filed over failure to arbitrate
Macomb Township officials were ordered to arbitrate three grievances filed by MAFF on behalf of two Macomb Township Fire Fighters in a Circuit Court ruling June 13. The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Employer after MAFF filed a motion for summary disposition in an effort to compel the Employer to arbitrate the matters.
"Judge (Jennifer M.) Faunce ordered Macomb Township to participate in arbitration of three grievances," said MAFF attorney M. Catherine Farrell. "The Employer refused to arbitrate and brought a lawsuit to stop the arbitrations."
On Sept. 5, 2013, MAFF filed grievances and pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) took the grievances through the grievance procedure. The Employer alleged that the Union had not fully complied with Step Three by refusing to meet with the Township Board of Trustees. The language was ambiguous as to whether the Union was required to "meet" with the Township Board of Trustees. Judge Faunce agreed with MAFF that the issue of procedural arbitrability is for the arbitrator to decide, not the Court.
The Judge stated "... the CBA grants an arbitrator the authority to decide whether a misrepresentation or misapplication of a specific article has occurred, and the instant dispute centers on whether one of the parties has misinterpreted or misapplied the requirements under Step Three. This matter must therefore be decided by an arbitrator, rather than the Court."
MAFF representation allows for uniform benefits, wages and more for multi-jurisdiction authority
Chelsea Area Fire Authority voted unanimously to join Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) in an April 4 election with 12 members voting Yes for MAFF representation and zero opposing.
"The Authority is made up of different communities and each has different ideas on how things should be covered," said Ron Palmquist, MAFF Labor Relations Specialist for Chelsea Area Fire Authority. "There was too much uncertainty as to how things were going to go with benefits and wages and everything else. Now everyone will know what is what and follow the contract."
The members being represented by MAFF include 10 full-time and five paid-on-call fire fighters employed by the Chelsea Area Fire Department. The Chelsea Area Fire Authority includes the City of Chelsea, Lima Township, Lyndon Township, Sylvan Township and portions of Waterloo and Dexter townships. The City of Chelsea and the townships of Lima, Lyndon and Sylvan are represented by MAFF. Waterloo and Dexter townships pay a fee to participate in the Authority and do not have a vote on the Chelsea Fire Authority Board.
MAFF is the first union to represent the Chelsea Area Fire Authority. A year ago, they held a vote to join International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), a national organization which has state fire fighters associations affiliated with them. However, the fire fighters voted against having IAFF represent them.
"They have been a non-organized group, at-will employees," Palmquist said, adding once an election is held the organization must wait one year before they can seek other representation. "When you get out away from southeast Michigan you find it's a little more common than in the metro area (to be unrepresented). A lot of these departments were originally volunteer groups where they were not paid."
Authority Fire Fighters contacted MAFF after the one-year bar from choosing other representation. "I think they had been talking to some of the surrounding departments," Palmquist said, adding MAFF represents the townships of Sumpter, Van Buren, Northfield, Green Oak and Augusta. Between mutual aid runs and training, he said, fire fighters communicate with each other and find out about union representation.
Now that Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) has given their official approval, Palmquist is busy getting the group ready for their first contract. "I have them working on bylaws for their local group and in the meantime we provide surveys to them to find out what they want to see in the contract," he said. "I sent a letter to the Employer requesting information and we'll put a contract together and start negotiations hopefully in the next few weeks."
June 19, 2014
SENATE PULLS PLUG ON ROAD FUNDING, TO FORM SUMMER WORK TEAM
After failing to find the votes necessary to generate new road funding revenues the GOP-controlled Senate joined the House in adjourning last week for a scheduled summer break.
The Senate first scrapped Majority Leader Randy Richardville's (R-Monroe) original plan to raise $1.4 billion after five years, then could must only 17 votes for legislation that would index the state's 19-cent gas tax to the rate of inflation the major piece of a scaled-down plan to raise a new combined $247 million.
Former longtime members White Lake Township Fire Fighters return to MAFF
Former longtime MAFF members, White Lake Township Career (Full-Time) Fire Fighters returned to the Union in November 2013 after a three year hiatus and they are already pleased with the difference MAFF representation has made.
"My experience with MAFF – it is a completely different experience," said Union steward David Mills. "I couldn't hope for or ask for better union representation than Donnell Reed. He's honest, he's professional and very accessible despite his busy life."
MAFF represented White Lake Township Career Fire Fighters from 1992 to November 2010, when the fire fighters decided to switch their representation to Fire Fighters Association of Michigan (FAOM) based on promises made, but not kept. White Lake Fire Fighter's voted unanimously to return to MAFF, 13-0. "The primary reason they left is they weren't receiving the representation they were promised. They did have to do their own negotiations," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Donnell Reed.
Belleville POC Fire Fighters join MAFF because of unsafe working condition concerns
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Belleville Paid On-Call Fire Fighters Association voted to organize and join MAFF in May. The 13-member group, which was previously unrepresented, chose MAFF based on a recommendation from a neighboring MAFF department.
"They have tried internally to work with the local officials to improve some working conditions for them dealing with wages and safety issues within the fire station and equipment," said MAFF Labor Rep. Donnell Reed. "They have some very serious concerns about the equipment they're forced to work with. This is not for financial gain, as much as for their safety and well being while they act as paid on call firefighters."
The membership voted 7-1 to join MAFF after attempting to work with city officials who rejected their requests. Nominated Union President Brian Blackburn said the station's diesel exhaust extraction system was broken and when the City refused to fix it, a resident paid $500 to cover the cost. "A little bit after that the system broke again and it's still broken today and when the trucks start up, especially in the winter, all the fumes head right to the furnace," Blackburn said. "The filters look so bad it looks like a graphite filter. We have other issues with truck maintenance and equipment testing. We were finally done playing nice."