On February 8, 2011, Representative Joseph Haveman (R- Holland) introduced House Bill 4205 which would repeal Public Act 312, providing for compulsory arbitration of labor disputes in municipal police and fire departments. POAM’s Legislative Director Kenneth E. Grabowski and our Lobbyist Tim Ward from Michigan Legislative Consultants have already contacted a number of legislators and are conducting an educational program to inform House Members on the ramifications of repealing P.A. 312 and the positive track record that this 40 year legislation has had on labor relations and public safety in Michigan. POAM will continue to advocate for improvements in the legislation to streamline its process and help employers minimize a majority of their legal expenses in the process.
In the meantime, please contact your State Representatives and Senators and inform them of House Bill 4205’s potentially devastating impact on public safety. Remind them that P.A. 312 was enacted in 1969 to eliminate strikes and has accomplished its original goal. Don’t forget to mention that public safety unions have been giving concessions to their employers for the last five years and the vast majority of arbitration decisions have been in favor of municipalities. POAM will be updating our website with the latest information and strategies to protect Michigan’s first responders and the citizens they protect.
This is not the time to scream, beg or march on the Capitol. It is the time to work the back doors and get our point across. Most legislators do not understand the damage they are doing to police officers, and it is our job to educate them. When you e-mail, write or call legislators, tell them to listen to the proposals of POAM because there are reasonable ways to address the concerns of both employers and police officers.
The government Operations Committee will be meeting on Wednesday February 23, 2011 and POAM will be testifying. All members are encouraged to attend. The Committee will be convening on Wednesday, February 23rd at 12 noon. The address is House Office Building, Room #327, 124 N.Capitol Ave., Lansing, MI. 48933.
Click on one of the links below to open up your email client to send a letter. The state representitives and senators email address’ are already included in the respective links. We highly recommend you write your own letter, but as a reference we have provided a letter below that we have drafted for you to use in regard to this situation. At the bottom of this email we have included information on 312 that can assist you in drafting your own letter or email.
1. Click on one of the 3 highlighted links below to send an email.
2. We highly recommend you write your own letter, but if you would prefer you can send ours, located below. Click on the grey box that says “copy to clipboard” and paste (ctrl V) into your email.
3. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we can help!
Click one of the links below to open up your email client
Send to Michigan Senate
You can also highlight and copy the letter
To All State Senators and Representatives: As a police officer and concerned citizen, I am sending you this message to voice my opposition to recently introduced House Bill 4205 which would repeal Public Act 312 which allows for compulsory arbitration for police officers. The Act has evened the playing field for both parties at the negotiating table and achieved its established goal to prevent strikes and work stoppages from public safety employees. This legislation was implemented in 1969 to safeguard the efficient operation of such departments and maintain the high morale of its employees. Consider this: teacher"s arbitration rights are not covered by P.A. 312 and as a result, while police officers have settled their disputes without strikes, teachers in some districts have ravaged school boards and parents with unlawful strikes that disrupted the school year and threatened the fiscal health of the district. At the same time teachers" wages and benefits increased at a much higher rate than police officers. Stripping police officers of this privilege would roll back labor relations 50 years to the "blue flu" era in Detroit and other communities. The simple facts are that Public Act 312 works and a municipality"s "ability to pay" is a major criterion that arbitrators must factor. In fact, the majority of recent decisions garnered through the 312 process have substantially benefitted the employer. In just about every negotiated settlement over the last five years, local police associations have agreed to pay more of their health care costs, given back previously agreed-to wage increases or taken a freeze, reduced pension benefits as well as conceding to many other cost-cutting measures asked for by the municipalities that they serve. But eliminating a police officer from the negotiating process while asking them to risk their lives on the job every day is asking too much. I urge you to support your police officers. For more info on the Practical Aspects of P.A. 312 visit https://www.poam.net/main/legislative/practical-aspects-pa-312.html.