I understand a person’s right to “protest” a particular decision by shunning some person or company. I see those that decide not to buy Ivanka’s line of clothing or avoid shopping at Nordstrom’s. Heck, I haven’t purchased a pair of Levis since 1992 when they withdrew support for the Boy Scouts! And why choose Wranglers, Dale Earnhardt’s sponsor? I get it.

Did You Know This About POAM?

I’m not sure how many of you know that in 2011 when the same PA 312 that so many of us lean on today was about to vaporize under the Michigan legislature and the signature of the governor, POAM was donning shirt and tie and sitting with the leadership of the Republican legislative headquarters.

Yes, while other labor organizations (those who chose to visit Lansing that day) were dressed in camouflage and protesting, POAM General Counsel Frank Guido was rewriting the statute. He rewrote it in a manner that would get it passed and still preserve your right to have a current collective bargaining agreement.

Note: Protesting is an extremely important way to make our voices known. POAM has held and will always back protests. The point here is that we often both inside and outside the legislative establishments both protesting and re-writing legislation that harms our members.

How About This?

When 312 eligible employees were deemed exempt from PA 54, which eliminated retroactive pays and forced employees to pay all increases to healthcare premiums, it wasn’t a coin toss or magic. POAM was at the table.

Yes, everyone appeared for the photos and signing, but no other law enforcement leaders were in there attempting to influence the legislature.

Did you really know what was going on?

The same was true when “right to work” legislation came to Michigan! Were 312 eligible employees exempt “just because”? Of course not!

In December of 2016, did you really know what was going on in the hours before legislature decided “lame duck” was no the appropriate venue for the legislation that was going to put your pensions and retiree healthcare in jeopardy? I bet not.

The Truth About Dick DeVos

The truth is that, in December 2016, two POAM board members and I were in the personal office of Dick DeVos engaged in a rather lengthy conference call with someone who has significant influence on the legislative leaders.

The deal, in short, was that POAM participated in the discussion of the perceived OPEB issues and that, in return, the matters of our concern would be pulled off the “lame duck” agenda. That commitment was made some 12 hours before we took to the front lawn at the capital. Here’s the real truth of the matter.

Labor organizations that choose their endorsements by party are, more often than not, left on the sidewalk with the cardboard signs.

Is there a less attractive profession in Michigan right now than teaching? I wonder when they last endorsed the winning team. Does POAM only back one party? Of course not. POAM endorses and backs those who care about our members, who will listen to us, and who will WIN!

Those who think Mr. DeVos is the one coming after your benefits are simply wrong. Do we agree on everything? I’m afraid not. Has he always given us the time to make our arguments? Yes, he has. Fortunately for you, much of the evidence of that is outlined in the earlier paragraphs.

I realize that we all have opinions and I respect your right to buy Ivanka, shop at Nordstrom’s or buy a certain brand of intoxicant. I’m still not buying Levis!

Now, Some Truth About the Amway Grand

If nothing else written here makes sense, please note that we sign a contract to hold POAM’s Annual Convention 2-3 years in advance of the opening gavel. At POAM, we respect contracts. We spend a great deal of time arguing contract breach cases and consequently, we don’t breach contracts.

I doubt there is a facility in this state that can house, feed, and entertain 600+ members of one group and find a dozen places they can relax without having to get into their car. Our event is completely unique among its peers. Our opening ceremony, our Officer of the Year presentations, the Michigan Supreme Court, it’s Attorney General (and just perhaps a very special guest this year!), make it so special.

I truly hope you are as proud of our convention as we are to host it every year. I do understand your right to protest. However, if you choose to stay elsewhere, I do hope that you’ll enjoy all we prepare for you at the convention and throughout the year.

My very best to all of you. Stay safe, please.

James Tignanelli
POAM President

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