Contract Settlements

CONTRACT

“First and foremost, I wanted to say how great MAFF was for us. (MAFF Labor Relations Specialist) Jim (Steffes) was there with us every day,” Local Union President Jeff Gaglio said of negotiations. “He always had great input. He was an extremely great asset as was MAFF. Every time we needed information or a resource, they were phenomenal through the whole process. This was our first contract coming out of the bankruptcy. Power and money pretty much was what this contract was all about … gaining back some more power for our bargaining group. We wanted to gain back our ability to manage our own affairs. We really took on a lot of responsibility with this contract. It gives us, as a management group, more relevance and more responsibility which keeps us around a while.”

“They received a pay increase of 3 percent annually July 1 for life of agreement, effective first day of the payroll cycle and a one-time 4 percent special wage adjustment. They were frozen for a long time from the bankruptcy,” said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Jim Steffes. “They received an increase in their cap on the Sick Leave from 300 to 480 hours per year. So, they can bank additional time if they need it. We got a change in Overtime to count all hours over 40 or in addition to their normal work schedule. It used to be Fair Labor Standards Act, so, … if you took Vacation time it didn’t count (toward hours worked). Now, if I use Vacation or a Comp Day, it still counts as compensated time. Effective Jan. 1, 2019 and each month thereafter during the agreement, the City contributes toward active members 2 percent of their straight time hourly earnings going into a retiree health saving plan. So, when they retire, they will be able to purchase healthcare with this money they’ve been receiving over the course of their career. (In the past) if I was a Lieutenant and the Captain was off, I would have to work in his job over 30 days before I’d get step up pay. We got that reduced to one work day.”

Contract Duration: 4-year agreement ratified June 14, 2019 and effective July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2023.

Wage Increases:
3% increase effective July 1, 2019.
3% increase effective July 1, 2020.
3% increase effective July 1, 2021.
3% increase effective July 1, 2022.

  • Plus, a one-time 4% special wage adjustment effective the first day of the payroll cycle following contract ratification.

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.”