Full Service Representation
By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor
Welcome to the newly designed, visually appealing, interactive MAFF website! We are excited to share our new online presence with you while providing members and prospective new members easy access to information about all of the services MAFF has to offer.
A new Members Only section has been added to provide members with information and member resources. The MAFF Office is in the process of reaching out to the Presidents of member units to provide them with details to create your Members Only accounts, so you can login to this private section of the website. As Members Only expands over time, we welcome your input about the types of items you would like to access in this section.
The website's fresh look includes quick links to articles about the experiences of new members, upcoming member training seminars, and what MAFF Full Service Representation entails.
Experience, Education, and Expertise
In order to guarantee its members the highest level of employment protection, it is absolutely necessary in today's world, that a firefighters' union provide professional representation. Representation founded on professional resources and a broad spectrum of specialized expertise must be readily available, at all times, to all members. In other words, a union must be equipped with complete service capacity and a dedicated staff of skilled professionals who will deliver these services in a timely and effective manner.
Specifically, all members must be provided with representation that wil deliver:
- Maximum appropriate financial compensation for the work they perform.
- The best possible employment benefits, including pension and medical insurance.
- Working conditions maintained at the highest standards.
- Protection of all employees' rights, as established by law.
- Immediate access to top-quality legal counsel whenever necessary.
- Direct availability of professional assistance in matters of financial, insurance and retirement planning.
- The strongest possible collective voice in communicating needs, opinions and positions to national and state lawmakers.
- A communications program which keeps members fully informed of updates related to the collective bargaining process, including the status of contract negotiations.
- A platform which informs the public about the organization's position on issues affecting the membership and/or local associations.
- A leadership structure which represents the membership's collective interests and goals in the creation and implementation of the organization's operating policy.
In short, professional representation should include the negotiation and enforcement of contracts, safeguarding of members' rights, assisting members plan their futures and protect their families, providing members with a voice in political matters, and guaranteeing member satisifaction.
The Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF) is a full-service firefighters' union in every sense of the term.
A program of information and media relations
A complete union communications program has two primary facets:
1. To keep the entire membership as informed as possible about important developments and events; and;
2. To convey to the public and to state and national lawmakers the positions and opinions of the organization on all issues which affect it and its members.
Internal communications enhance teamwork, help stimulate ideas and provide the vehicles by which ideas are shared and refined. Media relations give members a voice in speaking to the thousands of individuals whose tax money pays public servants. Such communications also augment the efforts of both legislative liaisons and the union leadership in bringing organizational influence to reality.
Expert, specialized legal representation is an essential service element for any public safety professional union in the modern era.
Complex laws govern the relationship between employees and their employers. Many of these are established to protect the rights of the employees. Importantly, the protection afforded by law is only as effective as a union's legal talent makes it.
When it comes to choosing Union representation, fire fighters and EMS workers can regain control of their work environment through Michigan Association of Fire Fighters (MAFF).
MAFF provides its members with the service and support they need to focus on their jobs.
Union represented employees should never experience fear of retaliation from their own Union. Verbal and written threats from an organization hired to represent you is simply unacceptable. And Union leaders should not sign contracts without a vote of the membership.
MAFF promises to provide members with the following rights:
• Members will vote on their local stewards and board members.
• Each unit automatically selects a representative to sit on the MAFF Executive Board.
• Only members will be allowed to vote on and ratify their contract.
• Members will not be threatened by Union attorneys with a lawsuit for speaking out at Union meetings.
• They will have bylaws developed by and voted on by the membership.
MAFF also guarantees it will provide members with:
• Attorneys 24/7 at no additional cost, to assist members with Garrity statements.
• Grievance and negotiations training for local stewards.
• Experts who will inform members of their legal rights under FLMA and FLSA.