Washington Township Paid On Call Fire
Van Buren Township FD Settles Contract
Curtis Lunsford of the Van Buren Township Fire Department, with assistance from MAFF's Ron Palmquist, recently settled their Collective Bargaining Agreement at the first mediation hearing. The contract, which had expired 15 months earlier, had many improvements. While technically being a Paid-On-Call department, they have an established duty crew manning two stations with two firefighters, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Wage increases totaled a whopping 16.75% over the life of the agreement, which is good through the end of 2011. Other monetary benefits include an increase in their uniform allowance as well as a $200 bonus for successfully passing their mandatory strength and agility test. An extra holiday was also added.
The Fire Inspector, who is the only full time member of the department, received a vastly improved fringe benefit program, including three bereavement days.
"We are extremely pleased with Ron Palmquist and the staff at MAFF", said Curtis. "They have always been there for us, answered all questions we had, and provided superior service to our group."
Flat Rock FD and MAFF Act 312 Arbitration Hearings End
MAFF and the Flat Rock Firefighters have completed Act 312 arbitration hearings and are preparing the final briefs to be presented to the Arbitrator in early April. Representing the firefighters were local president Dan Besson, MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Troy Scott, and MAFF Executive Director Fred Timpner. The bargaining unit has been without a contract since June 2006.
Mediator James Amar helped resolve most of the issues at stake, but Arbitrator Martin Kotch will be addressing the issue of subcontracting. The City is proposing they be allowed to subcontract union jobs and asserts that it is a non-economic issue. MAFF disagrees and believes that it is indeed an economic issue. A request that the arbitrator rule it as such has been made.
It is important to understand that the Arbitrator may fashion his own award on non-economic issues, but must adopt the last offer of settlement on each economic issue which more nearly complies with the factors set forth in Section 9 of Act 312.
MAFF believes that the issue of subcontracting is clearly an economic issue. One can only logically assume that such a move would be made to cut costs. The intent of the language proposed by the Employer would allow the layoff of members or reduce the size of the bargaining unit without any obligation to bargain with the Union over the impact such a move would have on the members. This would result in the loss of jobs. How can it be any more economic than that?
MAFF has gone the long haul for the Flat Rock firefighters and continues to fight for its members. Meanwhile, we must await the decision of the Arbitrator.
Local president Dan Besson was very pleased with the service Fred and Troy provided. "They came very well prepared, had a good plan, and it was apparent that they did their research. They listened to the membership, came up with some different ideas and different ways to look at our concerns. We appreciate that."
Macomb Township Firefighters Settle Contract
The Macomb Township Full time Firefighters Association recently settled their contract, a five year agreement. Retroactive pay will be awarded for 2008 and 2009, with a 2% increase for each year through 2010. A wage re-opener will take effect for 2011 and 2012. In addition, COPS Trust Health Care is now the plan of choice available to the members, paid for by the employer.
This makes the wages top out for Sergeants at over $59,000; Lieutenants at over $66,000; and Captains will break the $73,000 mark.
Local President Dave Myny said: "I was very happy to work with our Labor Relations Specialist from MAFF, Ron Palmquist. He did an excellent job for us and we are very happy with him. Ron stood up for our rights."
Mundy Township Fire Fighters Association Settle Contract
The Mundy Township Fire Fighters Association settled their first-ever contract with the help of MAFF's Joel Felt. It took two full years of negotiations and the Department went through two fire chiefs, but persistence paid off and it did get settled.
Included in the contract are the establishment of a 457 deferred compensation plan and a signing bonus of $350. A pay raise and retroactive pay was also included for the two year time period it took to hammer out the agreement.
Mundy Township is located in southern Genesee County. Its only full time position is that of Fire Chief, who is supported by about 30 Paid-on-Call firefighters.
Walled Lake Professional Fire Fighters Settle Contract
Jason Gonzales, President of the Walled Lake Professional Firefighters' Association reports that MAFF representative Ron Palmquist assisted them in settling their new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new contract calls for 3% wage increases each year over the term of the new three-year contract. The new contract also calls for retroactive pay for the year it had been expired.
"The City wanted to take away some essential benefits, but we stood firm and managed to settle the contract with Ron's help. We are happy the way things turned out", said Jason.
Sick time issues were also ironed out, essentially affecting only newly hired employees. This did not have an impact upon the four member Association.
Association of Novi Firefighters
Wins Act 312 Award
Firefighter Jerry Holtzman, President of the Association of Novi Firefighters, reports that MAFF and Fred Timpner presented their case to the Arbitrator who recently came down with an award for the Paid on Call Firefighters. The Arbitrator ordered the City of Novi to pay retroactive wage increases in the amounts of 3.25% for 2005, 3% for 2006, and 3% for 2007. The city wanted an increase in the attendance for required response to alarms to be 55%, however the Arbitrator agreed with MAFF in that the status quo of 40% response to alarms remains intact. A $200 per year allowance to pay for required EMT training was previously agreed upon.
Concerning Fred Timpner, Executive Director of MAFF, and his staff, Jerry said:
"I think they did an excellent job. Everyone was happy...that is except for the city!"
MAFF Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against
Macomb Township for Refusal to Bargain
The Michigan Association of Fire Fighters filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) on July 17, 2007 for their refusal to bargain over the issue of fitness-for-duty evaluations, specifically psychological evaluations. The Township wants the unilateral right to force individual Fire Fighters to submit to psychological evaluations without negotiating with regard to the issue. MAFF believes this to be a mandatory subject of collective bargaining.
On June 20, 2007, MAFF advised Macomb Township the issue was a mandatory subject of negotiations and provided the respective case law. On July 9, 2007, Macomb Township responded by stating, "Macomb Township finds the Union's handling of this matter inconsistent with past practice, and therefore, the Union has waived any rights it might have over fitness for duty evaluations." Interestingly, no past practice exists with regard to psychological evaluations in Macomb Township.
In response to the unfair labor practice filed by MAFF, Larry Dloski, attorney for Macomb Township filed an unfair labor practice against MAFF. The charge filed by the Township claims MAFF committed an unfair labor practice by demanding to negotiate with regard to the issue.
The Township believes they have the inherent right to demand a fitness for duty psychological because of the Management Rights clause in the contract.
The MAFF labor and legal staff cannot recall a time when an unfair labor practice was filed against them for a demand to negotiate with regard to an issue. According to Troy Scott, Labor Relations Specialist, this is a matter of the Township wanting to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement without negotiating over a mandatory subject.
"This is a matter of the Township wanting to impose their will upon the employees without bargaining. This organization is confident we will prevail with regard to the unfair labor practice charge requiring the Township to negotiate labor over the issue of psychological evaluations," said Troy Scott. As for the charge filed by the Township, MAFF does not believe any basis for it exists within the meaning of the Public Employment Relations Act and well-established case law.
The unfair labor practice charges are scheduled to be heard on October 10, 2007 by Administrative Law Judge Doyle O'Connor at the MERC offices in Detroit.
4th Year Wage Agreement Reached in Macomb Township
The Macomb Township Fire Fighters Association (MTFFA), represented by MAFF, negotiated wages for the fourth year of their agreement, which is due to expire on June 30, 2008. Jeff Craig, MTFFA President and MAFF President, along with Troy Scott, MAFF Labor Relations Specialist, ensured minimum increases of three percent (3%).
Seniority Fire Fighters with EMT certification received a four percent (4%) increase to their Alarm rate, making their pay $25.00 per hour. Seniority Fire Fighters without EMT certification received a three percent (3%) increase to their Alarm rate, making their pay $24.72 per hour. All Seniority Fire Fighters received a three percent (3%) increase to their Stand-By, Meeting, and Truck Check rates, making the pay $17.30 per hour for each category. Instructor pay was also increased by three percent (3%), making the pay rate $19.00 per hour. The wages listed above became effective July 1, 2007.
The parties also agreed to create a new classification, titled, "Recruit Fire Fighter." This classification was created for individuals whom, at time of hire, do not possess Fire Fighter I and II and/or Basic EMT Certification. Recruit Fire Fighters will have eighteen (18) months to obtain all three (3) certifications. Upon obtaining all three (3), the individual will be made a Probationary Fire Fighter.
Recruit Fire Fighters with no certifications will be paid $10.00 per hour. If one certification is held, the pay rate will be $12.50 per hour. If two certifications are held, the pay rate will be $15.00 per hour. Upon obtaining all three certifications and becoming Probationary, the pay rate will be $18.75 per hour for less than six (6) months of probation. Upon reaching six (6) months of probationary service, individuals will be paid at the rate of a Seniority Fire Fighter with EMT certification.