Michigan Association of Police

MAP Business Agent Jerald James (left) presented Henry Ford Hospital Security Officer Marcel Craig with the 2023 Richard C. Heins Outstanding Leadership Award.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Many people would rather hold their tongue than potentially upset their co-workers, but Henry Ford Hospital Security (HFHS) Officer Marcel Craig understands the importance of being honest, especially when it comes to adherence to the contract.

Craig was honored as the 2023 Richard C. Heins Outstanding Leadership Award recipient for his stellar representation as Local Union President of HFHS Officers, a MAP-represented group.

“He’s one of the few people who has no qualms telling a peer ‘You’re wrong,’” said MAP Business Agent Jerald James, while presenting the honor to Craig at the 39th Annual Michigan Association of Police (MAP) Open House on Dec. 8, 2023.

In memory of former MAP Executive Board President and Business Agent Richard C. Heins, the Outstanding Leadership Award is bestowed annually upon a MAP, MAPE or MAFF Local Union Steward who exemplifies leadership qualities in advocating for their members. James nominated Craig, citing an in-depth email exchange between Craig and his Local Executive Board.

“It was a long email, going back and forth with my E-board and giving them a lot of push back,” Craig said, adding he checked in with James on the matter to ensure he was interpreting the contract language correctly. “If you’re right, you’re right, but being the President is not easy. Everybody wants to challenge you. As long as I can quote the contract, I’m doing what’s best for the members.”

Craig (center right) with the 2023 Richard C. Heins Outstanding Leadership Award was congratulated by his co-workers (from left) HFHS Officer and MAP Executive Board Secretary Ricky Day, Henry Ford Hospital Chief of Security Melissa Gardner and Henry Ford Hospital Wyandotte Manager of Security, Communications & Parking Ron Hnilica (right).

Craig clearly values the relationships he has formed with his co-workers, but never at the expense of leading them astray. When a matter of concern is brought to him, emotions do not play a role in deciding whether or not to move forward with a grievance.

“I’m a really friendly person but I don’t try to be friends with my members,” Craig said. “It’s all about the contract – it’s all about the bylaws. If it’s in the contract, we will go forward and (address) it. If it’s not in the contract, I have no problem telling them you’re wrong. Sometimes people don’t like it, but they respect me. At the end of the day, it’s better to be respected and not just do what people want.”

He was truly honored to be selected for the prestigious award. “It’s probably one of the highest points of my life,” Craig said. “I put it right up there after my kids being born.”

But what was particularly hard to top was the fact that he was nominated by James. “He’s a person I really look up to. If I’m looking at the contract, I just want him to go over it again to see if he’s’ seeing the same thing,” Craig said. “He’s been everything to me. Just to have him nominating me would’ve been good enough for me. To win it was kind of like a dream come true.”

An HFHS Officer for 22 years, Craig has served as Local President for the Main Campus and West Bloomfield since 2020. “I started off as a Steward in 2010 in West Bloomfield and went to the Main Campus in 2015, where I became Chief Steward and President in 2020,” he said. “I used to be one of those people that complained a lot, and at the time the President was John Snitgen, and he challenged me. He said, ‘Instead of complaining, you need to take an active role’ and that’s when I decided to become a Steward.”

The former Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy, who worked as a Turnkey in the jails from 1999-2000, credits his dedication to HFHS partially to his mother, who was upset when he left the Sheriff’s Office due to her strong belief in longevity in the workplace.

“There was Overtime every day and I was on a maximum security floor. It was a lot of money, but what good is money if you can’t spend it?” he asked. “My mom thought it was a great job. She was mad that I left. I made myself a promise when she passed away to stick with it at Henry Ford Security.”

Craig doesn’t take his position for granted and, early in the New Year was busy planning motivational ways to bring the membership together and boost morale.

“I really am thankful for the opportunity – just being elected President again. I would like to continue to do whatever is in the best interest of the membership,” he said. “You have to have high integrity. People want to trust you and you have to be a leader and respected among the men and women. You can’t be pals with people. People like a straight shooter. In the long run, they see where you’re coming from and they respect you.”