By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Melvindale Patrol Officers hadn’t been getting the help they desired from their former Union in recent years. When they heard about MAP’s responsiveness with area departments, they felt confident MAP would stand up for them when they needed help.

“About a year or so ago, I started calling around to other unions and realized there was an open enrollment period we had to wait for so when that came up this year we went for it,” said Melvindale Patrol local union President John Thompson. “We had other unions come in and they had a lot of bells and whistles, but MAP gave us an intelligent well-spoken thought out reason of why they would be a good fit for us. We talked to officers (represented by MAP), like Sterling Heights and St. Clair Shores, and they were really positive and really sold it to us.”

The former POAM members for 15 years voted unanimously to have MAP represent them.

“We weren’t satisfied with the service we were getting from POAM,” Thompson said. “We had some pretty big issues going on here. A lot of our officers here are young and don’t know how to handle these issues.”

One incident involved an Employee who was having significant trouble with the administration. “We had an officer here that was having conflict with the command and there was a lot of problems that ensued from that,” Thompson said. “We needed representation from POAM and we didn’t feel we got it properly.”

Another situation involving recently married officers led to a grievance being filed, but lack of follow-up by the former Union. After the wedding, the female officer opted to go on her husband’s medical insurance, receiving a $300 monthly opt out payment from the City. Over two years after they married and contract negotiations were completed, the Employer objected to the wife opting out of the insurance because she is also a City Employee.

“We were a year into the contract when they brought it up. That should’ve been addressed in the contract,” Thompson said. “I really felt that it should’ve been taken to arbitration. I honestly feel we could’ve won that arbitration. We signed a contract and they were doing it before and after that contract.”

“If he was married to someone else, they would still cover her,” he added. “I felt they did them wrong.”

Thompson was concerned Melvindale’s smaller size may have played a role in the lack of service they received. Melvindale Patrol has 20 officers. “We’re only 23 Chief on down,” Thompson said. “We really felt like we were pushed aside and didn’t get the attention the bigger departments got. I get it, but I’m paying the same amount they are as an individual.”

“We liked that they (MAP) were smaller, which would give us more attention. We wouldn’t be lost in a crowd,” he said.

MAP is enforcing the terms of the current contract and plans to open negotiations in the summer of 2019. “Our contract isn’t up for a year,” Thompson said in November.

Thompson is pleased with the level of responsiveness his group has already received from MAP in the past few months since they joined the Union.

“We are looking forward to going to work for John and his membership,” said Fred Timpner, MAP Executive Director.