J urnal The Police Officers
VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1 • WINTER 2021
Outstanding Service Award Winners ON THE INSIDE: COVID-19 tops 2020 LOD deaths – Pg. 2 New Executive Committee member – Pg. 3 Outstanding Service recognized nationally – Pgs. 4-5 Save the Date POLC/GELC Conference – Pg. 9
COVID-19 causes 2020 surge in officer line-of-duty fatalities — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1 • WINTER 2021
Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) 667 E. Big Beaver Road, Suite 205, Troy, MI 48083. (248) 524-3200 • FAX: (248) 524-2752 POLC membership: www.polc.org
CHAIR: Steve McInchak Gibraltar Police Dept.
VICE CHAIR: Brian McNair Chesterfield Township Police Dept.
Collin Birnie Flint Police Dept.
Berrien County Sheriffs Dept.
Grand Rapids Communications
Battle Creek Police Dept.
Oak Park Public Safety Dept.
Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Dept.
Bloomfield Township Police Dept.
DIRECTOR, Robert Figurski Warren PD (Retired)
MEMBER SERVICES Lloyd Whetstone PUBLICATIONS Executive Editor: Jennifer Gomori
OVID-19 has caused a surge in law enforcement line-of-duty deaths nationwide. Fatalities increased 96 percent over the prior year, according to the 2020 Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report. As of Dec. 31, 2020, 264 officers died in the line of duty compared to 135 in 2019. In the “Other” causes of death category, which includes COVID-19 deaths, fatalities increased 300 percent over 2019, according to the report. So far, there were 145 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in 2020, however, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), a nonprofit which tracks officer deaths, has already identified a significant number of additional COVID-19 related fatalities which have yet to be confirmed. The current number of total deaths in 2020 exceeds line-of-duty deaths dating back to 1974 when 280 officers made the ultimate sacrifice. The deadliest year on record, prior to NLEOMF tracking, was 1930 when 307 law enforcement officers were killed. “The year 2020 will go down as the year of the most line-of-duty fatalities since 1974 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “We’ve been tracking LOD fatalities for 30 years, and the loss of even one law enforcement life is difficult. We stand together with the nation in honoring these brave men and women.” Firearms-related deaths decreased by 6 percent, with 48 officers killed during 2020 compared to 51 officers in 2019. Traffic-related fatalities increased 2 percent at 44 line-ofduty deaths in 2020 versus 43 in 2019. By far, the most substantial increase in deaths was due to officers who contracted coronavirus in the line of duty with “other” causes of death spiking to 172. Excluding COVID-19 deaths, 27 officers died of other causes. Twenty-two died from health-related reasons including heart attacks and injuries related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Three others died in drownings, one in a helicopter crash, and one officer was beaten to death. States who lost the most officers in the line of duty were: Texas with 48; New York at 19 deaths; Florida lost 16 officers; Georgia and Louisiana each had 13 line-of-duty deaths; Pennsylvania lost 12 officers; and California and New Jersey had 11 deaths each. Thirteen states had no line-of-duty deaths. Twenty-one federal officers, five territorial officers, three tribal officers and one military officer also died in the line of duty. d Click on this link for a complete copy of the 2020 Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.
4 police academy graduates are honored as LEEP Award recipients Four police academy graduates were honored with Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Awards this winter. Jillian Booker received her award at the Wayne County Regional Police Academy Nov. 25, 2020 graduation. Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy graduate Chris Keller was honored with the $800 award Dec. 23. Jeffrey Simon received his award during the Dec. 4 Oakland Police Academy graduation. Cadet Alexis Perry received her award during Macomb Police Academy’s Dec. 11 graduation. Booker was hired as a Farmington Hills Police Officer. Keller was hired by Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office and Perry was hired as a Woodhaven Police Officer. d For more information about the LEEP Award recipients, visit https://polc.org/category/polc/
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New Executive Committee member prepared to keep members safe, informed during pandemic — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
ak Park Public Safety Lieutenant Troy Taylor understands the need to stay apprised of the ever-changing regulations brought on by COVID-19. “It seems like within our profession we’re the ones in the trenches of the current pandemic. We have to deal with it,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of directives coming from the state level. Our workplaces need to be compliance to make sure our members are safe.” Getting that information to local POLC and GELC members in a timely manner is important. “Those (directives) seem to be changing by the day or week. We have to make sure they have the right updated information,” he said. Taylor was appointed by the POLC/GELC Executive Committee in September to fill the remainder of Jennifer Flick’s term. Flick vacated her seat after retiring from the Jackson Police Department in the summer of 2020. “I wanted to be more involved in some of the decisions that are being made at the state level,” he said. “I bring a toolset that could be beneficial to the state board. I have the ability to see things from different angles and make good decisions from input from those different angles.” Taylor has plenty of representation experience as the local Union Command President for Oak Park since 2018 and Vice President from 2014-18. He’s negotiated contracts and guided employees through Union services when they’re needed. “I’ve been involved in the last five contracts in some capacity whether Vice President or President,” Taylor said. ”The Command Association doesn’t have a lot of discipline issues to deal with. We kind of police ourselves I guess.” However, during a few officer-involved shootings, the 12-member Command unit looked to the POLC for direction. “We had to rely on POLC resources and assistance and that was greatly appreciated during that time for sure,” Taylor said. “The response time from our business agent and legal staff was within the hour and the resources that came along with it, as far as doing the internal investigation and walking our involved officer through that, gave a sense of security to the officer who was involved.” “As the Local President and investigating Lieutenant in charge of the internal investigation, it had the potential to be contradictory, but the police resources were great on both sides of the fence,” Taylor said. Taylor, whose been with Oak Park Public Safety since 1999, has been a POLC member since 2002. He admits he didn’t see the need to be involved in the Union board as a younger officer. “I had a mentor Lieutenant that encouraged me to get involved with our Local just to have a say with the negotiations,” he said.
“During that time, I saw the importance of having unity in negotiating contracts or litigating discipline.” Taylor obtained a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science at the University of MichiganDearborn, where he played Ice Hockey and was a two-time All-American. The Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command graduate Troy Taylor has been a Special Response Team Commander, Field Training Commander, Firearms/Tactics Instructor and is currently the Team Commander for the OakTac Mobile Field Force. “We are the dedicated mobile field force to respond to civil disturbances, riot situations,” Taylor said. “We initially started off training the 40-plus agencies within Oakland County to be consistent in tactical practices,” he said of Oakland County Tactical Response Consortium (OakTac). He’s thankful his unit hasn’t had to respond to riots so far this year but said their assistance is in demand with protests nationwide. “My phone is constantly ringing the last several months for consultations about things that are popping up throughout our county,” he said. “We’ve been in standby mode for most it, but the day is young right now.” As a new Executive Committee member, Taylor would like to expand the Union’s social media presence beyond Facebook to Twitter and Instagram to appeal to younger public safety professionals. “Having that access online or on the app would be greatly beneficial for the locals,” he said. “Just a little bit more of a presence to get the (Union) name out there.” He understands the importance of clear contract language and would like Reps to have easy access to other units’ bargaining agreements through either the Stewards password protected page on the POLC website or a database where they can click on PDFs of contracts. “That seems to be a lot of the points of contention — the language and clarification of what’s in the contract,” however, Taylor said, “Police don’t like to reinvent the wheel.” Taylor said it’s also a priority of his to publicize the good deeds of local Union officers. “I’m a huge commendation guy,” he said. “There’s too much bad out there. The more good we have control over and push out there the better.” d
The Police Officers Journal
POLC Outstanding Service Award re — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
he 2020 POLC Outstanding Service Awards (OSA) recipients garnered national attention for their extraordinary heroism. American Police Beat Magazine, OFFICER.com and Police1. com published articles about the POLC-represented Police Officers in addition to several local news outlets. “American Police Beat congratulates the six officers who were recognized with OSAs for putting themselves on the line to save the lives of others,” the American Police Beat article states. Three Battle Creek OSA recipients were congratulated by President Donald Trump. “National recognition of these officers is a testament to their courage under extreme circumstances,” said Rob Figurski, POLC Director. “It was impossible to choose just one officer for the 2020 POLC Outstanding Service Award. They all deserve recognition for their heroic response in potentially deadly situations.”
BATTLE CREEK OFFICERS JEFFREY JOHNSON, BENJAMIN DOWNEY & BEN SHIPPELL
What started as an arrest for outstanding warrants ended with Battle Creek Officer Jeffrey Johnson being shot several times and Officers Benjamin Downey and Ben Shippell rushing to his aid. Early in the morning Nov. 30, 2019, officers went to a home on the 300 block of Cherry Street. “We had information that Andre Yarbrough was in the residence there, so we were gonna go there to attempt to pick him up,” Johnson testified, according to a Newschannel 3 article. “I’ve dealt with him several times as a police officer.” Yarbrough’s girlfriend, Heather Arredondo, denied he was there. However, Officer Johnson thought he saw Yarbrough inside the home, so officers kept surveillance of the house. Around 2:30 a.m. Johnson saw Arredondo and Yarbrough exit the back door. He ordered the suspect to come to him. Yarbrough fled and Johnson pursued, catching up to him at a fence. The two began to fight and Ar-
Photo courtesy of Battle Creek Police Department
Battle Creek Officers were honored for their heroism by the President. Officers (from left) Benjamin Downey, Jeffrey Johnson on crutches and Ben Shippell.
4 • WINTER 2021
redondo began hitting and pushing the officer. As Johnson tried to get the woman off him, Yarbrough shot him in the leg, shattering his femur. He fell to the ground and Yarbrough shot him in the chest and wrist. His bullet resistant vest stopped the bullet to the chest. “It was extremely painful,” he testified about his leg. “I could literally feel the bone grinding on itself.” Johnson exchanged gunshots with Yarbrough as the suspect fled and called dispatch for help. Officers Downey and Shippell found Johnson on the ground. Shippell applied a tourniquet to his leg while Downey kept him engaged. Due to the extent of his injuries, Downey rushed Johnson to the hospital. “Johnson’s courage under fire, survival mindset, and the efforts by Downey and Shippell to save a critically injured brother-in-blue demonstrate the finest qualities of the police profession and the POLC is proud to represent them,” said POLC Executive Committee member Scott Eager, a Battle Creek Police Sergeant. Officers later found Yarbrough, who was arraigned on charges of assault with intent to murder, resisting police causing serious impairment, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Arredondo was arraigned on charges of resisting and obstructing police causing serious injury and harboring a felon. Officer Johnson was awarded the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police 2020 Medal of Honor and Purple Heart.
FLUSHING TOWNSHIP POLICE OFFICER BRIAN FARLIN Flushing Township Police Officer Brian Farlin rescued a 17-year-old girl trapped inside a burning home Oct. 19, 2019. Officer Farlin, Flushing Fire Chief James Michaels and Flushing City Officers Eric Earns and Matthew Jensen responded to the home on the 3000 block of Crooked Limb Officer Brian Farlin Court around 3:25 p.m. Flushing Township and City Officers are both represented by the POLC. The city officers lifted Farlin and Chief Michaels to the first story roof where they had access to the second level, according to a Flushing Township Police Facebook post. Michaels broke a second story bedroom window and Farlin pulled the victim from the smoke-filled room safely through the broken glass. “I ripped the curtains down and draped the curtains over the window. We … brought her out horizontally. She didn’t get cut,” said Farlin who suffered lacerations and abrasions to his hands and arms. “The Chief had protective gear on and obviously I didn’t.” The men lowered the victim down to city officers, who rushed her to an ambulance. “We looked over the edge of the roof and everyone was gone,” Farlin said, laughing. “So, we just climbed down the antenna. It was no big deal.”
The Police Officers Journal
ecipients garner national attention Flushing Firefighters rescued the family dog hiding underneath a bed, Farlin said. “She was in the bathroom giving the dog a bath and smoke came up through the vents,” Farlin said. “She called her dad and her brother called 911.” The victim, who was home alone, was treated and released from an area hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire was caused by another child leaving something burning on the stove. Farlin received a Life-Saving Award from Flushing Township Police. “I asked (Chief Michaels) what would have happened had they not responded in such a timely fashion and he said the results would likely have been fatal,” said Flushing Township Police Chief Mark Bolin during the award presentation.
MT. MORRIS CITY POLICE DETECTIVE KEVIN MIHAILOFF Mt. Morris Police Det. Kevin Mihailoff dove into frigid water to rescue a 50-yearold man trapped underwater in his vehicle. POLC-represented units Mt. Morris City and Mt. Morris Township Police responded around 12:15 p.m. Nov. 4, 2019 to a 911 call from a bystander. The vehicle went through Det. Kevin Mihailoff a guardrail on Stanley Road, falling 15 to 20 feet and landing upside down in Brent Run Creek, police said. “The inside of the car was completely filled with water,” said Mihailoff, local Union President. “The roof was smashed in. When I jumped over the guardrail and slid down the steep embankment, (Mt. Morris Township) Officer (Cody) Volway was already in the water and broke out one window and was trying to get the door open. He could hear someone inside the car.” Volway made multiple attempts to grab driver Christopher Cady, stated Mt. Morris Township Sgt. Bill VanBuskirk in a release. Mihailoff was also unable to locate the victim in the murky water. When Volway failed to break another car window, Mihailoff removed his gun belt and dove in. “I went into the (broken) rear window … halfway. I couldn’t see anything,” Mihailoff said. “Toward the backseat was the driver. He wasn’t in a seatbelt. I felt his arm and hand and grabbed onto him and pulled him toward me.” “I don’t know the temperature of the water, but it took my breath away,” he said. “I almost lost grip, went back down again and pulled him more. He got his feet under him and he took a big huge gasp of air.” Mt. Morris Township Officer Mackenzie Dunklee helped get Cady to an ambulance. He was treated and released from Hurley Hospital. Mihailoff was treated for exposure at the scene. “The quick response time and actions that were demonstrated by Officer Volway, Officer Dunklee and Det. Mihailoff saved Mr. Cady’s life,” Sgt. VanBuskirk stated in the release. “All three demonstrated
tremendous bravery and the will to not give up until Mr. Cady was freed from the vehicle. Awesome Job!!!”
WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY POLICE OFFICER THOMAS BOX Wayne State University (WSU) K9 Officer Thomas Box risked his life to stop a gunman shooting at three men June 5, 2019. Officer Box responded to Detroit Rescue Mission, at 3535 Third Street, to shots fired outside the building at another victim around 10:55 p.m. The victim told police he ran inside the rescue mission after being threatened with K9 Officer Thomas Box the gun and heard a gunshot seconds later. He described the perpetrator and said he rode away on a bicycle with orange rims northbound on Third Street. Officers Edward Viverette, Julian Gherasim and Officer Box found a shell casing at Third and Brainard but did not locate the suspect. Box returned for surveillance video or photos of the suspect. While talking to the victim, the gunman pedaled by southbound on Third Street. Officer Box called for backup as the suspect pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at three men outside 3430 Third Street. He fired several shots and Officer Box ran toward him, confronting him at gunpoint as the victims ran for cover. Box ordered the suspect to drop his weapon several times, but he pointed his gun at Box and the officer fired his service weapon. The wounded suspect pedaled eastbound on Peterboro and collapsed in the street. Box and other officers disarmed and handcuffed him. Officers attempted to render medical aid and called an ambulance while Box checked on the victims, who did not sustain injuries. The suspect succumbed to his wounds at the scene. Police video later showed the suspect had fired his weapon at Box before fleeing. Officer Box was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. “Officer Box was aware of the danger, yet conscientiously performed his duty that day,” wrote Chris Powell, former President of POLC-represented WSU Police Officers Association, in his OSA nomination letter. Box was awarded WSU Police Department’s Medal of Valor for risking his life to save others. He was WSU’s Police Officer of the Year for 2019 and received the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police 2020 Medal of Honor. “You focused the shooter’s attention on you as you yelled for the suspect to stop,” said WSU Police Chief Anthony Holt, during the Medal of Valor presentation. “The suspect pointed his weapon at you, and you stopped the threat. Officer Box you saved several lives that night, including your own. It is an honor and a privilege to present you with a Medal of Valor award for your heroic acts.” d
New Units Bloomfield Twp. Employees tout GELC teamwork — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
loomfield Township General Employees had varying pay rates and benefits when a pending change in township leadership prompted them to unionize through GELC to bring consistency. “We got several different bargaining groups,” said GELC Labor Rep. Frank Klik. “The pay scale was all over the place and how they promoted somebody per se. There was a lot of discussion on that to get things equalized in certain job descriptions.” The Employees were referred by POLC-represented Bloomfield Township Police. “We felt most comfortable working with them. They had experience with the Township and other Township Employees spoke very highly,” said Local Union President Charles Markus.
In the middle of negotiations over the group’s first contract, Klik suffered severe injuries in a paraglider crash, which landed him in the hospital with broken bones in his back and neck. “Everyone jumped in and helped him out. It was a total team effort on their part. We didn’t skip a beat whatsoever,” Markus said. “The entire time everyone’s been completely accountable for everything over there. That accountability is really nice and rare nowadays.” Markus said immediate support was provided by GELC Director Rob Figurski and GELC Labor Attorney Brendan Canfield. He was also
impressed by Klik, who was quick to point out his miscalculation and lesson learned from the crash. Having their benefits spelled out in a contract for the next six years was a relief to 50-member unit. “I think that the biggest part of the contract for us was it was just really important to have it signed before a new administration came in,” Markus said. “The Township wanted to be able to change things whenever they wanted,” Klik said. “The outgoing supervisor wanted to lock in their benefits. We know where it is going for the next six years.” “With a changing possibility of several different people on the board and positions within the Township, it’s unknown where we might be headed. That was the idea of the long-term contracts. It gives them time to at least get to know the Employees and sometimes it gives them time to realize maybe these people do deserve these things.” Bloomfield Township Employees are impressed with GELC. “Both Rob and Frank were super proactive, very responsive, mornings, nights, weekends. There was never a hesitation in response,” Markus said. “They always provided the information we requested. They were always willing to listen to us, support us, explain the ramifications of what we were looking at based on past experiences.” d
GELC gives Department Heads security — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
loomfield Township Department Heads have always been at will employees, but now they have their first bargaining agreement and some rights they didn’t have before thanks to the GELC. Prior to representation by the GELC, their Employer didn’t need a personal performance reason to dismiss them. “We’ve always been at will here at the Township … but we got a severance package that defined the just cause in there,” said Noah Mehalski, Bloomfield Township Director of Public Works. “We have to commit a negligent act. The contract narrowly defined what just cause is. We can’t be fired unless we breach one of those just cause provisions in the contract.” GELC Labor Rep. Chet Kulesza helped the group negotiate that severance package. Now if a Department Head is fired due to budget cuts or any reason not related to poor job performance, they must be paid three years of their salary. “We thought that was a better situation for us,” said Mehalski, the local union president. “We wanted to protect ourselves from people coming in and just making changes. It puts some controls in place.” With GELC assistance the group also worked out a vehicle compensation package. Formerly all Township Department Heads were 6 • WINTER 2021
given company vehicles. Now only those considered to be “first responders” have company vehicles. However, those who lose their company vehicle receive a payout totaling $8,000 pro-rated over 26 pay periods. “We have vehicles as part of our compensation,” Mehalski said. “We codified … a buyout program where you could take the vehicle or lump sum in paychecks.” The 13-member group interviewed other labor unions, but Mehalski said they had an inside perspective into the benefits of GELC representation through the “historic relationship” with the Township Police Department. “Once I talked with the police department and one of our officers on the board (GELC Executive Committee member John Huizdos), I kind of had an inside look at you guys,” Mehalski said. Of the four groups GELC now represents in Bloomfield Township, Mehalski said, “We were an odd duck for them.” “We are treated truly like executives of our own departments. I literally was representing my people on one end and the Township on the other,” Mehalski said of contract negotiations. “(The GELC) wrote all the language for all the other groups. He (Kulesza) allowed me to take the lead on it, but when I needed him, Chet and the lawyers were right there for me, so that was great.” d
New Units Unique circumstances call for unique Union approach to contract — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
loomfield Township Road Maintenance has worked well with management over the years with no representation, so when they decided to unionize, they were concerned about maintaining that good relationship. The 21-member group found the perfect fit in the GELC. They joined the Union in early 2020 and have been impressed with the GELC’s ability to continue that friendly relationship while negotiating their first bargaining agreement. “Management has really worked with us and it’s been a good relationship and very positive, the Union management relationship,” said Local Union President Jerry Keller. “We were kind of turned on (to the GELC) through the police officer representative,” Keller said. “We met with the different reps, the lawyer for the GELC and we liked what we heard.” It didn’t take long to settle their first contract, which took effect April 1, 2020. “It has been short-term, but in terms of (GELC Labor Rep.) Jim Stachowski, it’s been good,” Keller said. “He’s been incredibly accessible. He’s been prompt. If we have questions, he’s getting right back to us. I’d say overall it’s been a very positive relationship.” The GELC went to work right away to address the needs of their exclusive operation. “We have a road department which is incredibly unique for a township. I’m told we’re the only township in Michigan which has its own road department,” Keller said. “At some point Bloomfield Township residents weren’t happy with how Oakland County handled the roads, so they decided they wanted their own road department.”
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP GROUPS SHARE PAY INCREASES, MAINTAIN RETIREE BENEFITS The first thing the GELC helped the four newly represented Bloomfield Township groups do was an across-the-board pay increase each year of the six-year agreement. Effective April 1, 2020, all bargaining members received raises of 2.5 percent in the first and third years of the contract, 2 percent in years two and four and 2.75 percent in the last two years. GELC helped them obtain a new benefit – an annual equipment allowance. They receive $300 in the first and last years of the contract and $600 in 2021 through 2024. The groups will have incremental increases in health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket maximums, but they maintain all of their individual existing retirement benefits, including retiree healthcare, pensions and longevity, through the life of the contract. However, that decision came with some challenges for workers. “Between Nov. 1 and April 15, it’s known you are on call. If it snows you have to come in,” Keller said. “We asked for some additional changes in some of the policies in regard to time off.” The only way Bloomfield Township Road Maintenance Employees were able to take time off in the winter months was to have a coworker cover their shift, which required management approval. “We were able to get the guys a week off without having to go Continued on page 12
Bloomfield Twp. DPW Supervisors join GELC for knowledgeable representation — By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
loomfield Township Maintenance Supervisors joined the GELC after years of conducting their own negotiations through an association. “We get together as a group and talk about what our needs and wants are and we present it ourselves and cross our fingers,” said Dean Begley, President of the local union. “We wanted to have a little bit more knowledgeable representation about how to handle ourselves during a contract negotiation. Until now it’s just been sort of old school.” Begley appreciated POLC-represented Bloomfield Township Police helping to guide their five-member group through the process
of joining the GELC. “We wanted representation since we’ve all been here for 20-plus years and we didn’t know how to (unionize),” Begley said. Begley said the process with GELC Labor Rep. Jim O’Connor has gone smoothly and they are pleased with the results of their six-year agreement. “Not having an actual contract in this day and age is probably not the best idea,” Begley said. “We just sort of went by the employees’ handbook. We wanted to get all of our rules and regulations in the employees’ contract officially. We just wanted to get something down on paper.” d
Member News Winter Contract Settlements
— As reported by POLC/GELC Labor Representatives
Alma City Command Sergeants
• One-year contract extension expires July 31, 2021. • Wages: 3.381% effective Aug. 1, 2020. • Bargaining Team: Jake Gulick and Chris Drury aided by POLC Labor Representative John Stidham.
Alpena City Police Officers
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2023. • Wages: 2% effective July 1, 2020. 2% effective July 1, 2021. 2.25% effective July 1, 2022. • Fringe Benefits: Promotional procedure was changed per the Union proposal, eliminating examination. Employees will receive a minimum of two hours of pay for being called into court and a minimum of three hours of pay for all other call-ins. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was added as a paid Holiday. Special Assignment Officers will select Vacation Days independent of other unit members. Bereavement Leave will increase from three days to five days for a spouse, child or parent. • Retirement: Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011 will receive Sick Time Payout upon retirement. Those hired after July 1, 2011 will receive Sick Time Payout up to $500 upon retirement. If an Employee dies prior to retirement, their designated family member will receive the Sick Time Payout. Employees hired after July 1, 2011 will receive an increase to their 457 Pension Supplement to MERS DB Plan from 2% to: 2.5% in 2020. 3% in 2021. 3.5% in 2022. • Bargaining Team: Andrew Smith and Adam David aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Barry County 911 Dispatch
• New five-year agreement expires Dec. 31, 2025. • Wages: .80 cents effective Jan. 1, 2021. .80 cents effective Jan. 1, 2022. .80 cents effective Jan. 1, 2023. .80 cents effective Jan. 1, 2024. .80 cents effective Jan. 1, 2025. (*Annual wage increase is approximately 3.7% per year.) • Manning & Safety: Increased maximum length for a temporary assignment by the Employer from 14 days to 28 days. • Fringe Benefits: Certified Training Officer wage increase from .70 cents to $1 per hour. • Health Care: Increase dental and optical maximum payout from $500 to $1,000 annually. • Bargaining Team: Erik Godbry and Kurt Worm aided by GELC Labor Representative John Stidham.
Bath Township Command & Bath Township Patrol
• 2 SEPARATE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS WITH SAME TERMS AS FOLLOWS: • New five-year agreement expires Dec. 31, 2025.
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• Wages: 2.5% effective Jan. 1, 2021. 3.5% effective Jan. 1, 2022. 3.5% effective Jan. 1, 2023. 3.5% effective Jan. 1, 2024. 3.5% effective Jan. 1, 2025. • Retirement: Employer contribution cap to MERS increases from 10% to 11%. • Fringe Benefits: Vacation Time increases to 180 hours at 15 years of service and 200 hours at 20 years of service. • Health Care: Increase dental and optical maximum insurance coverage by $100 annually from $1,000 to $1,500 over the life of the contract with $1,100 effective Jan. 1, 2021 increasing to $1,500 effective Jan. 1, 2025. • Bargaining Team: Bath Township Command Steward Gary Smith and Bath Township Patrol Stewards Mike Lapham and Bryan Miller aided by POLC Labor Representative John Stidham.
Belding Police Department
• New four-year agreement expires June 30, 2024. • Wages: 2% effective July 1, 2020. 2% effective July 1, 2021. 2% effective July 1, 2022. 2% effective July 1, 2023. *The wage scale changed from a five-step scale to top out to a three-step scale to top out. *Sergeants compensation is a minimum of 10% greater than the highest paid 3-year Patrolman base wage. *Part-time Officers wages increased to $1 less per hour than the starting pay of full-time Officers wages. After 2,080 hours of service, part-time Officers receive $1 less per hour than the 1-year Officer base wage. • Contract Language: Recognition language changed to include all full-time and all part-time Officers. • Fringe Benefits: All Officers may accumulate up to 80 hours of Compensatory Time. Increase Equipment & Boot allowance to $300. • Health Care: At least one Bargaining Unit Member will be included in the health insurance selection and review process. • Retirement: Amount paid to Retirees for health care increased to $500 per month for more than 25 of service and $330 per month for 15 to 25 years of service. MERS HCSP Employer contribution increased to 2% with the Employees contributing 4%. • Bargaining Team: Shannon Hummel and Marci Cooper aided by POLC Labor Representative David Thomas.
Bloomfield Township Department Heads
*NEW UNIT • New six-year agreement expires March 31, 2026. • Wages: 2.5% effective April 1, 2020. 2% effective April 1, 2021. 2.5% effective April 1, 2022. 2% effective April 1, 2023. 2.75% effective April 1, 2024. 2.75% effective April 1, 2025. • Fringe Benefits: Severance package of three years salary if Employee is terminated for reasons other than negligence or personal performance. Vehicle compensation payout for Employees who no longer have use of a company vehicle is $8,000 pro-rated over 26 pay periods beginning at
contract ratification. Added annual equipment allowance: $300 effective July 2020. $600 effective annually July 2021 - July 2024. $300 effective July 2025. • Health Care: Employees bi-weekly premium payments will increase in 2021 to $25 for singles, $50 for families; and in 2024, to $50 for singles and $100 for families. The out-of-pocket maximum for Employees increases incrementally over the contract term. In 2021, the out-of-pocket maximum increases to $3,000 for singles, 6,000 for families. In 2024, the maximum increases to $4,000 and $8,000. • Retirement: All existing retirement benefits per individual Employee (including retiree healthcare, pensions and longevity) remain in place for the full contract duration. • Bargaining Team: President Noah Mehalski, Vice President Darrin Kraatz and Secretary Katie Fotherby aided by GELC Labor Representative Chet Kulesza.
Bloomfield Township DPW Foreman & Supervisors & Bloomfield Township General Employees 2 SEPARATE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS WITH SAME TERMS: *NEW UNITS • New six-year agreement expires March 31, 2026. • Wages: 2.5% effective April 1, 2020.
2% effective April 1, 2021. 2.5% effective April 1, 2022. 2% effective April 1, 2023. 2.75% effective April 1, 2024. 2.75% effective April 1, 2025. • Fringe Benefits: Added annual equipment allowance: $300 effective July 2020. $600 effective annually July 2021 - July 2024. $300 effective July 2025. • Health Care: Employees bi-weekly premium payments will increase in 2021 to $25 for singles and $50 for families; and in 2024, to $50 for singles and $100 for families. The out-of-pocket maximum for Employees increases in 2021 to $3,000 for singles and 6,000 for families; and in 2024, to $4,000 for singles and $8,000 for families. • Retirement: All existing retirement benefits per individual Employee (including retiree healthcare, pensions and longevity) remain in place for the full contract duration. • Bargaining Team: Bloomfield Township DPW Foreman & Supervisors President Dean Begley and Vice President Dave Craig aided by GELC Labor Representative James O’Connor. Bloomfield Township General Employees President Charles Markus, Vice President Jodi Welch and Secretary/Treasurer Tim Kacir aided by GELC Labor Representative Frank Klik.
Continued on page 10
Member News Contract Settlements continued from page 9
Bloomfield Township Road Maintenance
*NEW UNIT • New six-year agreement expires March 31, 2026. • Wages: 2.5% effective April 1, 2020. 2% effective April 1, 2021. 2.5% effective April 1, 2022. 2% effective April 1, 2023. 2.75% effective April 1, 2024. 2.75% effective April 1, 2025. • Fringe Benefits: New ability to take up to a week off during snow removal season. Added annual equipment allowance: $300 effective July 2020. $600 effective annually July 2021 - July 2024. $300 effective July 2025. • Health Care: Premium increases for Employees are $25 for singles and $50 for family coverage biweekly in 2021-2023; and $50 for singles and $100 for family coverage in 2024-2025. Out-of-pocket maximums increase for Employees to $3,000 for singles and $6,000 for families in 2021 through 2023. Out-of-pocket maximums increase to $4,000 for singles and $8,000 for families in 2024-2025. • Retirement: All existing retirement benefits per individual Employee (including retiree healthcare, pensions and longevity) remain in place for the full contract duration. • Bargaining Team: Local Union President Jerry Keller, Treasurer Chris Baroli and Vice President James Davis aided by GELC Labor Representative Jim Stachowski.
Cheyboygan City Police Officers
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2023. • Wages: 5% effective July 1, 2020. 5% effective July 1, 2021. 5% effective July 1, 2022. *Eliminate two steps in the payscale. Top payout is at 24 months of service, rather than the previous 36 months. • Retirement: Employees hired after July 1, 2011 will no longer contribute 6% to their pensions. The Employer will fully fund their pensions. • Bargaining Team: Sgt. Ron White aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Gladstone Public Safety Officers
• New three-year agreement expires March 31, 2023. • Wages: 3% effective April 1, 2020. 3% effective April 1, 2021. 3% effective April 1, 2022. • Fringe Benefits: Increase Birthday Personal Time pay from 8 hours to 12 hours. Increase shift premiums from .50 cents to .75 cents per hour. • Retirement: The vesting language regarding Retiree health insurance survives expiration of the contract. Employees hired after April 1, 2013, who formerly had no Retiree healthcare, will receive $50 per week from Employer paid into a Health Savings Retirement Plan. • Bargaining Team: Nick Pellegrini, Todd Crow and Brad Nault aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
10 • WINTER 2021
Gladstone Public Safety Command Officers
• New three-year agreement expires March 31, 2023. • Wages: 3% effective April 1, 2020. 3% effective April 1, 2021. 3% effective April 1, 2022. • Fringe Benefits: Increase Supervisor differential from 10% to 11% above the top paid Public Safety Officer. Re-opener set for April 1, 2022 to discuss increasing the differential. Increase Birthday Personal Time pay from 8 to 12 hours. Increase shift premiums from .50 cents to .75 cents per hour. • Retirement: The vesting language regarding Retiree health insurance survives expiration of the contract. Employees hired after April 1, 2013, who formerly had no Retiree healthcare, will receive $50 per week from Employer paid into a Health Savings Retirement Plan. • Bargaining Team: Aaron Quinlan and Scott Larson aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Grand Haven Public Safety Department
• New two-year agreement expires June 30, 2022. • Wages: 3% effective July 1, 2020. 3% effective July 1, 2021. • Manning & Safety: Employer will maintain all training records for Employees and provide all continuing education and training pertaining to their employment or as required by the Employer for their employment. Newly added $150 annual boot allowance. • Fringe Benefits: Employees may apply for Tuition Reimbursement in accordance with the Employer’s Tuition Reimbursement Policy. PTO wording was modified to reflect PTO can be used for other leaves of absence authorized by the Employer. Increase in Holiday Base Pay from 4.5% to 5%. • Health Care: If a retiree is eligible for health care coverage and opts out, they are allowed to opt back in during open enrollment. • Bargaining Team: David Scott, Thomas Jones, James Kibart and Andy Cannon aided by POLC Labor Representative David Thomas.
Holland Police Officers Association
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2023. • Wages: 2.75% effective July 1, 2020. 2.75% effective July 1, 2021. 2.25% effective July 1, 2022. • Manning & Safety: Equipment reimbursement modified to include cooling vests, additional badges, gear bags, radio earpieces and secondary handcuffs. K-9 Kennel Construction reimbursement increased to $1,500. • Fringe Benefits: Detective Bureau standby pay increased to $19.18 times the number of days in a fiscal year the Detective is on call. Court appearance pay language modified to include minimum payment of two hours and includes lunch recesses. Bereavement Leave language modified to include non-dependent children and one day of Bereavement Leave to attend the funeral of a family member not currently listed in the bargaining agreement. • Bargaining Team: Joel Maat, Matthew Brouwer, Joel Reimink and Brian Dozeman aided by POLC Labor Representative David Thomas.
Iron Mountain Lieutenants
• New one-year agreement expires June 30, 2021. • Wages: 2.25% effective July 1, 2020.
*Deputy Director’s pay increases from the previous annual stipend of $3,750 to $2.50 per hour. This significantly increased stipend is in addition to the 2.25% wage increase. • Fringe Benefits: Employees may take their Sick Time in one-hour increments. • Health Care: Employees will receive up front HSA funding from the Employer. • Retirement: The Final Average Compensation for pension benefits is now based on the Employee’s highest three consecutive years. Previously it was based on Employee’s highest five consecutive years. • Bargaining Team: Lt. Joe Dumais aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Iron Mountain Sergeants & Police Officers
• New one-year agreement expires June 30, 2021. • Wages: 2.25% effective July 1, 2020. *New Hires to advance to 90% of top pay at six months of service and 100% top pay at one year. • Fringe Benefits: Employees may take their Sick Time in one-hour increments. New Hires receive Sick Time in their first year of employment and subsequent years as follows: Year 1: 24 hours of Sick Time. Year 2: 72 hours of Sick Time. Year 3 and all years thereafter: 96 hours of Sick Time. • Health Care: Employees will receive up front HSA funding from the Employer. • Bargaining Team: Jeff Solka, Adam Ray and Garth Budek aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Kingsford Public Safety Officers
• New one-year agreement expires June 30, 2021. • Wages: 3% effective July 1, 2020. • Fringe Benefits: One-time $600 footwear and clothing allowance added. A letter of agreement for overnight lodging and meals was approved for lengthy prisoner transports. • Health Care: Hospitalization opt out payment will apply if Employee is insured by any relative, not just their spouse. Medical coverage changes to MESSA health insurance. • Retirement: Employees hired after June 30, 2011 will now be able to count Overtime wages in their final average compensation. • Bargaining Team: Ken Wood, Tim Olson and Brandon Rutter aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Lenawee County Sheriff’s Command Officers
• New three-year agreement expires Dec. 31, 2023. • Wages: 2% effective Jan. 1, 2021. 2% effective Jan. 1, 2022. 2% effective Jan. 1, 2023. • Manning & Safety: Employees exposed to a communicable infection in the workplace during a declared pandemic, through no fault of their own, and who are required to test, isolate and/or quarantine to protect co-workers, will be compensated for time off without using Employee’s Paid Time Off. Employer will pay for testing not covered by health insurance. To the greatest extent possible, Employees will work from home while restricted, but not sick. Employees on worker’s compensation will not lose any benefits, including healthcare, until they are off work for two years – or a time period
equivalent to their length of service – whichever is less. Previously, they lost benefits after one year. • Health Care: The Employee/Employer premium sharing formula continues with Employer adjusting their portion at an equal percentage of any premium increase up to 10%. Further increases are paid by Employees. • Bargaining Team: Stewards Nathan Adams and Brett White aided by POLC Labor Representative Duane Smith.
Lenawee County Circuit Court, Lenawee County District Court & Lenawee County Maurice Spears Campus
3 SEPARATE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS WITH SAME TERMS: • New three-year agreement expires Dec. 31, 2023. • Wages: 2% effective Jan. 1, 2021. 2% effective Jan. 1, 2022. 2% effective Jan. 1, 2023. • Manning & Safety: Employees exposed to a communicable infection in the workplace during a declared pandemic, through no fault of their own, and who are required to test, isolate and/or quarantine to protect co-workers, will be compensated for time off without using Employee’s Paid Time Off. Employer will pay for testing not covered by health insurance. To the greatest extent possible, Employees will work from home while restricted, but not sick. • Health Care: The Employee/Employer premium sharing formula continues with Employer adjusting their portion at an equal percentage of any premium increase up to 10%. Further increases are paid by Employees. • Bargaining Team: Lenawee County Circuit Court Steward Mike McAran, Lenawee County District Court Steward Michelle Bates and Maurice Spears Campus Steward Jim Miller aided by GELC Labor Representative Duane Smith.
Manistee County 911 Dispatch
• New three-year agreement expires Sept. 30, 2024. • Wages: 2% effective Oct. 1, 2020. 1% effective Oct. 1, 2021. 1% effective Oct. 1, 2022. 1% effective Oct. 1, 2023. *$2,000 signing bonus with lump sum payout each year of contract for a total payout of $8,000 per Employee. • Manning & Safety: Established a Training Officer and Tactical Officer position with a $.50 cents per hour increase for Employees while performing those duties. • Bargaining Team: Alvin Rischel, Sonja Ratliff, Jason Vess and Jessica Witkowski aided by GELC Labor Representative John Stidham.
City of Marshall Command
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2023. • Wages: 11% effective July 1, 2021 above Patrolmen. 12% effective July 1, 2022 above Patrolmen. 13% effective July 1, 2023 above Patrolmen. • Manning & Safety: Eliminated Lieutenant position from the contract. • Health Care: Reduced Employee Premium payment from 22% to 20%. • Bargaining Team: Stewards Sean Brown and Kristopher Ambrose aided by POLC Labor Representative John Stidham. Continued on page 12
Member News Contract Settlements continued from page 11
City of Marshall Patrol
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2023. • Wages: 3% effective July 1, 2020. 3% effective July 1, 2021. 3% effective July 1, 2022. • Health Care: Reduced Employee Premium payment from 22% to 20%. • Bargaining Team: Stewards Matthew Potter and Andrew Groeneveld aided by POLC Labor Representative John Stidham.
Missaukee County Sheriff’s Supervisors
• One-year contract extension expires Sept. 30, 2021. • Wages: 2% effective Jan. 1, 2021. • Bargaining Team: Steward Ed Nettle aided by POLC Labor Representative John Stidham.
Ontonagon County Deputy Sheriff’s Association
• New three-year agreement expires Nov. 30, 2023. • Wages: .45 cents effective Dec. 1, 2020. .40 cents effective Dec. 1, 2021. .40 cents effective Dec. 1, 2022. • Fringe Benefits: Employees may carry over 40 hours of Vacation Time to use in the following year. Columbus Day added as a paid Holiday. • Manning & Safety: Employer agrees to apply for any future Hazardous Duty Pay available through the state and federal government. Employer offers 160 hours of COVID-19 time to each Employee not to be taken from Employee’s Sick Time Bank. The 160 hours will be added to separate Personal Days Bank, which may only be used in the event of COVID-19 or COVID-19 quarantine. • Bargaining Team: Ken Waldrop aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputies
• New two-year agreement expires Dec. 31, 2022. • Wages: 3% effective Jan. 1, 2021. 2% effective Jan. 1, 2022. • Fringe Benefits: Increase PTO from 80 hours to 96 hours annually. • Bargaining Team: Joseph Tath and Josh Tubbs aided by POLC Labor Representative Hal Telling.
Saline Patrol Officers & Dispatchers
• New three-year agreement expires June 30, 2022. • Wages: 0% effective July 1, 2019. 1% effective July 1, 2020. 1% effective July 1, 2021. *Officer-in-Charge pay is additionally increased from 5% previously to 7% over top paid Patrol Officers. • Fringe Benefits: Increase Officers Longevity by $525 and Dispatchers Longevity by $425 annually while eliminating Uniform and Cleaning Allowances of $525 and $425 respectively. Uniforms are provided by the Employer as needed. Sick Bank cap for full-time Officers and Dispatchers was reduced from 1,200 to 600 hours. Employees currently with over 600 hours will be paid out for those extra hours at 100%. Short and long-term Disability
12 • WINTER 2021
Insurance was added with short-term paying 60% of Employee’s salary up to $1,500 weekly. Long-term Disability is 60% of Employee’s salary up to $6,000 monthly. Field Training Officer pay increases from .75 hours straight time to one-hour overtime for an eight-hour shift. • Manning & Safety: Implement voluntary annual Physical Ability Test. Members who take and pass the test receive eight additional hours of Compensatory Time. The test would be similar to MCOLES pre-enrollment physical fitness test and pass or fail would be determined with MCOLES criteria for age and sex. • Health Care: The Employee/Employer premium sharing formula continues with Employer adjusting their portion at an equal percentage of any premium increase up to 10%. Further increases are paid by Employees. • Bargaining Team: Stewards Don Lupi, Ed Gauthier and Mike Snook aided by POLC Labor Representative Duane Smith.
City of Sturgis Police Department
• New three-year agreement expires Sept. 30, 2023. • Wages: 2.5% effective Oct. 1, 2020. 2.5% effective Oct. 1, 2021. 2.75% effective Oct. 1, 2022. • Contract Language: POLC Logo added to Cover Page of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. • Manning & Safety: Language modified so regardless of assignment in the department a Part-Time Employee shall remain a Bargaining Unit Member. Footwear Reimbursement changed to include the purchase of duty related equipment up to $200 per year. Detective Clothing Allowance increased to $600 per year. • Fringe Benefits: FTO’s will receive $1 more per hour while performing their FTO duties. Grandparent-in-law added to the list of covered relatives for Bereavement Leave. • Health Care: Effective Oct. 1, 2020, Employer contributions to the 457 Plan increase from 1.3% to 2.5%. • Bargaining Team: Greg Peterson, Damon Knapp, Lea Lackey and David Males aided by POLC Labor Representative David Thomas. d
Bloomfield Road Maintenance continued from page 7
through the process of covering their shifts,” Keller said. “That obligation and that onus to get it covered is gone.” They were pleased with the six-year contract term, which locked in pay increases, healthcare and retirement benefits. “The cost of living increases offset the insurance increases,” Keller said. “We were happy with the contract.” Bloomfield Township Road Maintenance Employees have stability with their first contract and peace of mind knowing their Union works to create unity instead of division. “Our experience has been good, pleasant, seamless,” Keller said. “It was a fairly smooth negotiation. The GELC has done a great job as far as we’re concerned and we’re very happy with what we’ve obtained by going with the GELC.” d