Contract Settlements

CONTRACT

“The biggest thing in the contract is we’ve got a section talking about negotiating for full-time. To be able to negotiate and create some full-time positions for the department would obviously be huge for the department. We were not able to staff 24/7 because of the retention crisis so we had to bring in auxiliary,” said Lt. Brad Rennells, Northfield Township Fire Fighters local union Vice President. “I’m happy we did make it easier for an Officer to get a bonus. You had to make 30 percent of runs to get a bonus. They weren’t rewarding you for your extra duties. If you have a full-time job and a family, 30 percent can be difficult at times, especially when you only need 20 percent to keep your job. We got (the Chief) to agree to a tiered system. As long as you make the department minimum of 20 percent of the runs, you can get a bonus.”

“There was discussion back and forth trying to reach agreeable language that dealt with union security,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O’Connor. “The Chief is looking at hiring some people full time. If the Chief wants full-time Fire Fighters, we’ll have to negotiate their wages, hours, and terms of employment. We agreed to meet with the Employer and try to negotiate full-time positions.”

Contract Duration: 3-year agreement, ratified August 2018, and effective 7-1-18 to 6-30-21.

Wage Increases:
POC - $20.50 effective July 1, 2018, $21 effective July 1, 2019.
Duty - $15.50 effective July 1, 2018, $16 effective July 1, 2019.
Training - $13 effective July 1, 2018, $13.50 effective July 1, 2019.
Probationary II - $13 effective July 1, 2018, $13.50 effective July 1, 2019.
Probationary I - $10 effective July 1, 2018, $10.50 effective July 1, 2019.
Wage Reopeners for all Employees July 1, 2020.

CONTRACT

“We got 8 percent (wage increases) spread over four years and we were able to get percent increases for command officers,” said Marc Abdilla, Van Buren Firefighters Association President. “The Employer increased their percent into our retirement by 2 percent. We got the only full-time employee’s information to mirror other full-time employees in the area ... with time off and tuition reimbursement. They increased his banks and his ability to cash out three days per year. We went from four employees to five every shift (adding) one supervisor per shift. Jerald (James) did a great job and MAFF did a great job for us. We appreciate it.”

Contract Duration: 4-year agreement, ratified Dec. 14, 2018, and effective 1-1-18 to 12-31-21.

Wage Increases:
3% increase effective Jan. 1, 2018.
3% increase effective Jan. 1, 2019.
1% increase effective Jan. 1, 2020.
1% increase effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Plus Step Increases by Title:
Sergeants receive 1% additional increase above Fire Fighters.
Lieutenants receive 3% additional increase above Sergeants.
Captains receive 5% additional increase above Lieutenants.
Battalion Chiefs receive 8% additional increase above Captains.

• Signing Bonus of $300 for full-time Employees and $250 for Paid-on-Call Employees.

CONTRACT EXTENSION

“Washington Township Fire Department has issues with retention of part-time fire fighters,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Jim Steffes regarding the contract extension. “The cost of training a part-time fire fighter only to have them hired full-time somewhere else is creating a problem. The Township is re-evaluating their budget to determine if a full-time department is something they can afford or whether should they explore other options.”

Contract Extension: 1-year Extension of original agreement (7-1-16 to 12-31-18). Contract now effective until 12-31-19.

Wage Increases:
2.5% increase effective April 1, 2017.
2.5% increase effective April 1, 2018.
3% (contract extension) increase effective April 1, 2019.
• .50 cents an hour increase effective on ratification of original contract.
• $700 of retroactive pay for each employee, based on making the contract retroactive to July 1, 2016, since the previous contract expired April 28, 2016.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

MAFF filed two successful grievances on behalf of a Van Buren Township Paid-On-Call (POC) Firefighter who was suspended twice. The first suspension was reversed and the other significantly reduced with back pay and benefits awarded.

SUSPENSION REVERSED

In the first case, MAFF fought a 3-day suspension as excessive discipline and won. The Firefighter was suspended Aug. 17, 2017 for failing to notify the Employer in a timely manner that he would not attend a June 2017 training session. The Union filed a grievance stating the discipline violated Article II of the Management Rights policy by being “excessive.” The Arbitrator agreed, partially granting the grievance and reducing the discipline to a written write-up.

Township POC Firefighters received an email from the Employer asking them to sign up for one of three training sessions. The Firefighter in question forgot and failed to respond by the last training session on June 24, 2017. Once it was brought to his attention, he responded July 19 he was unable to attend due to “working and prior family obligations.”

CONTRACT

Now when an Employee responds to a tone out, they will receive a $4 per hour increase in pay during that period, “to encourage a greater response by the Paid-on-Call Firefighters,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Joe O'Connor. “In order to fill shifts, they decided to let Paid-on-Call and Auxiliary work beyond the 1,560 hours. Once they go beyond that, they’re considered a full time equivalent and the Employer has to offer them healthcare. If there are open shifts, they’re allowing them to work it regardless of the number of hours they’ve got on the books. The Employer used to require a POC to reside in the city, they now need to live within 5 miles of the city limits. The hiring pool is only so big when you’re in the city limits. They want bodies to respond - that’s why it was expanded to the 5 mile radius." While new hire part-timers have minimum 10 shifts per quarter requirements, O’Connor said, “If they don’t have flexibility to work shifts, you can’t require them to take vacation time or personal time to fulfill that obligation with Novi. These guys all have full time jobs … Paid-on-Call means they’ll respond when they can and the Employer was trying to make it mandatory. You can’t do that. The compromise is anybody hired after (July 1, 2017), if you can’t do it we are not going to hire you.”

Contract Duration: 3-year agreement, ratified July 23, 2017, and effective 7-1-17 to 6-30-20.
Wage Increases:
•    2.5% wage increase upon contract ratification.
•    2.5% effective July 1, 2018.
•    2.5% effective July 1, 2019.
*New hire bonuses, which were eliminated in the prior contract, were reinstated. New hires will receive a $300 Certification Stipend for obtaining Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2 and EMT certifications and serving 12 month probationary period.

Fringe Benefits:
•    Each Employee will receive $100,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
•    POC or Auxiliary Firefighters responding to a scene, on standby or working a shift on a declared Holiday will be paid double time of their regular hourly pay.
•    Tuition reimbursement of $1,000 per year will be available, however if the Employee leaves the City within two years of tuition being reimbursed by the City, that Employee must reimburse some or all of the tuition. If the Employee leaves within one year of reimbursement, they must refund 100%. If they depart between 13 months and 23 months, they must repay a prorated amount based on 1/12th of the cost.

Tone-Outs: When an Employee responds to a tone out, they will receive an additional $4 per hour for hours worked during that tone out.