Unequaled expertise, respect, achievement

MAFF’s staff of labor relations professionals has earned recognition throughout the state for their unequaled record of success in all phases of union representation. Expertise reflects not only longevity, performing many years of highly specialized union business, but steady growth and adaptation in this increasingly complex field of knowledge.

To be an effective and respected representative of public safety personnel, each MAFF Labor Relations Specialist has accumulated many years of experience in all aspects of representation and has superb credentials. Their inside knowledge of Michigan’s labor relations community began when they served as public safety officers who represented their peers at the bargaining table.

Thorough understanding of the issues and how they impact union members is critical when it comes to having a representative who will fight for the rights of others. MAFF Labor Relations Specialists not only have the background to address tough issues while focusing on specific concerns of members, they have the foresight necessary to bring both sides of table together. This unique combination of attributes can be seen in the achievements made in MAFF bargaining agreements throughout the years, paying dividends to the hundreds of members who wisely invested their futures in the Michigan Association of Fire Fighters.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FRED TIMPNER

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Union Executive Directors are expected to oversee their labor staff and day-to-day operations, but Executive Director Fred Timpner leads MAFF Labor Relations Specialists by example, taking a seat at the bargaining table as well. The former President of Southfield Police Officers’ Association (SPOA) personally negotiates contracts, keeping himself fully immersed in the continually changing labor relations field. Within a year of joining Southfield PD in 1971, he was selected as Shift Steward for his local association. Soon afterward, he was elected Vice President and then President of the 100-member group. Timpner has more than three decades of public safety labor leader experience, earning a reputation as an expert in contract negotiations, grievances and grievance arbitrations. He has a full complement of labor relations studies including: a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Michigan State University; master’s degree in Criminal Justice from University of Detroit; graduated Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Training Council (now known as MCOLES); and numerous certifications from various labor relations courses and training. An established professional experienced in presenting Act 312 arbitration cases, he served as an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technology University, instructing courses in labor relations and dispute resolution for three years. In his spare time, the married father of two daughters enjoys playing golf, reading, and spending time with his four grandchildren.

LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JERALD JAMES

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Jerald James has represented EMS workers for nearly two decades. His union career track began in 1997 as Union Steward with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). He climbed the ranks to Chief Steward from 1998-2002 and President from 2002-05. In 2005, he was promoted to Lieutenant, and in 2007 became President of EMS Officers Association. He was promoted to EMS Superintendent in 2010, the highest position in the organization, and stayed until 2014 when he left the job to become a Captain and President of EMS Officers Association again, this time a unit of MAFF. James made history, leading the way to the largest settlement with the City in Detroit EMS history. When 21 Detroit EMS workers, who were certified as Paramedics, were not being paid the rate negotiated in the contract, the union filed for arbitration and James was part of the team who found the documentation needed to prove the rate should be paid. James took on part-time positions as a patient care attendant at Grace Hospital’s psychiatric unit and with the substance abuse detox unit at Salvation Army while working his full-time EMS position. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University Fire Staff and Command Academy. The married father of four enjoys refereeing high school, college and semi pro football games when he is not busy serving MAFF members.

LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JOE O'CONNOR

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Joe O’Connor has a wealth of union experience, both on the job, as a retired Sterling Heights Police Sergeant, and in his personal life, growing up the son of a United Auto Workers Committeeman. He served 31 years with Sterling Heights PD, 17 of which he was a dues-paying MAP member. But his union experience really began at age 10, when O'Connor started attending UAW meetings with his father. This influence provided him with a solid background using a diplomatic approach to resolve issues. As Grievance Committee Chairman for Sterling Heights Police Officers Association, O’Connor's goal was to resolve issues at the lowest level possible. As a member of the contract negotiation team for the Police Officers Association, he was instrumental in settling multi-year contracts. But make no mistake; O'Connor is not afraid to take a hard-line stance when necessary. When he is not busy representing MAFF members in contract negotiations and disciplinary matters, the married father of four with four grandchildren enjoys spending time with friends and family cruising Lake St. Clair aboard his boat. O'Connor and his wife, Cheryl, were into motorcycling, however, he said, he had to get back into boating since he couldn’t fit everyone on the motorcycle.

LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST JAMES STEFFES

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James Steffes was a local union official with Sterling Heights Police Department when he became part of the team breaking statewide barriers in wage and benefit packages with the help of MAFF’s Executive Director Fred Timpner. After 26 years on the job, Steffes retired as a Police Sergeant and joined MAFF as a Labor Relations Specialist to continue providing high quality representation to public safety employees. While serving as a Patrolman, he was active with the Grievance Committee for eight years and involved in union activities. The time spent helping fellow employees resolve their concerns with management made a lasting impression on Steffes. He found his personality and disposition were a perfect fit for successfully handling difficult contract situations for MAFF. In his free time, the married father of one enjoys golfing.



LABOR RELATIONS SPECIALIST ED WERTZ

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Ed Wertz accumulated two decades of labor experience serving on the Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA) Executive Board, chairing their Finance Committee and Bylaws Committee, and serving on the Election Committee. The retired Detroit Police Officer served 32 years with the department, 28 of which with the prestigious Mounted Police Section. He personally handled over 100 grievances and was instrumental in providing goals and direction for the membership during collective bargaining. Wertz served as Vice President and President of Retired Detroit Police and Firefighter Association and was a board member of Police Benefit and Protective Association, also affiliated with Detroit Police. He volunteered as a member of Detroit Police Athletic League and remains active as a Knights of Columbus member. Wertz earned a degree in Criminal Justice from Henry Ford Community College. He takes his responsibilities to the membership seriously having served MAFF since October 2007. The married father of two children enjoys golfing, hiking and kayaking.