House Bill 4044

House Bill 4044, sponsored by Rep. Matt Koleszar, was passed and signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. HB 4044 repeals a section of the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) that allows public employee wages and benefits to remain at the same level after the expiration of a contract and until a new contract is agreed upon.

POAM opposed this law when it was put into place several years ago, and we are incredibly appreciative to Representative Matt Koleszar and the Michigan legislature for repealing this law which provided a power imbalance between public employees and public employers during contract negotiations. Rep. Koleszar was POAM’s legislator of the year in 2022, and he has been a strong voice for law enforcement and the union rights that protect our members.

Governor Whitmer has signed this bill into law. The repeal of this law will go into effect 90 days after the end of the 2023 legislative session. The exact date is unclear at this point, but we expect it to be in early 2024.

Kenneth E. Grabowski
Legislative Director
Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM)

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This bill aims to undo a 12-year-old law, PA 54 of 2011, that freezes employees’ step raises and puts the burden of 100% insurance premium hikes post-contract on them. The current law freezes wage and benefit levels during contract negotiations, prohibits retroactive increases, and passes any increased costs of health care benefits onto employees. This law applies to all public employees under the PERA. It was previously amended in 2014, exempting police and firefighters.

As HB 4044 was being voted upon at the House level, Rep. Koleszar commented on the importance of the bill.

This bill will restore balance to the negotiating table and encourage labor and management to truly work together and customize contracts that fit the needs of their employees and the communities they serve,” Koleszar said. “Under current law, public employers have no incentive to truly negotiate or collaborate with their employees to solve the many problems facing the employees in the workplace and their communities. This loss of control and a true voice at the bargaining table has hurt public sector employment and led to a mass exodus of public workers in our schools and communities.

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