Michigan Association of Fire Fighters

40 years and still growing

By Fred Timpner, MAFF Executive Director

Forty years ago this month (December 2023), several local police agencies came together to form a new law enforcement Union. Out of that meeting, the Michigan Association of Police and the Michigan Association of Public Employees were formed. Shortly thereafter, the Michigan Association of Fire Fighters was also created.

As a new Union, MAFF was established based upon the following bedrock principles:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Every local unit, regardless of size, has a seat on the Executive Board of the Union.
  • The Union will be guided by the understanding that the Union works for the members, not the members working for the Union.
  • Labor Relations Training will be provided to members and their local leaders.

From these humble beginnings, MAFF went to work. By 1985, MAFF officially welcomed its first members. At that time, the staff consisted of only three individuals – Carl Parsell, Fred Timpner and Evelyn Baran.

Sadly, Carl passed away in 1990, but his memory lives on today through the annual Carl Parsell Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing. For the past 33 years, the golf outing has raised funds to provide annual scholarships to Michigan family members of MAFF, MAP and MAPE members – totaling $143,000 in awarded scholarships.

Over the next four decades, our MAFF staff has evolved into a comprehensive team of experienced labor representatives, a strong support staff, and accomplished legal counsel.

Always on the lookout to improve our effectiveness at the bargaining table, MAFF has added an expert in municipal finance. In fact, we know of no other public sector Union in Michigan that offers this type of expertise to their members.

I once asked a new member group why they switched Unions and chose us. That Local President told me the primary reason they joined is that the MAFF staff really does care about the membership – we do not take them for granted. That bedrock principle of Service is displayed in the way we treat every grievance as if it were our own.

MAFF has remained true to our principles throughout the past 40 years, representing members to the best of our abilities. We believe our adherence to those core fundamentals is the reason for our success and continued expansion, helping us grow stronger than ever.

MAFF wishes to thank our members for putting their trust in us all these years. We could not do any of this without you! Our promise to you is that no matter how much we grow, our bedrock foundation will not change – rather it will guide us through our next 40 years together and beyond.