Michigan Association of Police

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

It’s hard enough in today’s job market to attract and keep Dispatchers in the fast-paced stressful profession, so when South East Regional Emergency Services Authority (SERESA) Dispatchers turn to their Union for help the last thing they need is more stress.

SERESA, a municipal consolidated dispatch center in Macomb County, services the cities of Eastpointe, Fraser, Roseville and St Clair Shores. Since SERESA’s formation in 2010, they have been represented by Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM).

That representation ended in May 2022 after being introduced to Michigan Association of Police (MAP) by their supervisors, who joined MAP a year prior. SERESA Dispatchers liked what MAP had to offer and their no-nonsense approach to representation.

“Honestly our supervisors were never in a union before. They just joined MAP and MAP had asked if we wanted to talk to them about what they had to offer,” said Melanie Pasco, SERESA Dispatchers Local Union President. “It was just a matter of our (Local) Union saying, ‘Yeah, let’s check them out,’ and they voted to switch over.”

“For one MAP is little less expensive,” Pasco said of Union dues. “MAP came in and explained what they do and talked about some of the services and classes and programs we can attend. They were very down to earth, a ‘We’ll be here if you need us’ type of situation.”

Pasco was impressed with how MAP shares their Union expertise with Local Union boards through grievance seminars and other in-person and virtual classes they can attend. It wasn’t a rash decision though. SERESA Dispatch invited POAM to present their case for staying, but the Unit members didn’t get quite the response they expected.

“Just before the votes were mailed out to switch, they wanted to get both sides,” Pasco said. “The POAM wanted to come in and say why they should stick with them. My take on it was when we had the POAM meeting they came out very aggressively and that was not very professional and that kind of sealed the deal with a lot of people.”

With shootings and weapons-related calls becoming more common in the communities they assist, SERESA Dispatchers were down to 17 staffers in June and working to fill four vacancies.

“We are hiring right now. A lot of our people that vested in the last year decided to find different work. They’re not even in Dispatch right now,” Pasco said. “We just had one (person) finish training and give her notice. It’s frustrating - it’s not a great market right now. The ones that have left before, they just want something that is less stressful.”

SERESA Dispatchers bargaining agreement expired June 30, 2022 and their new MAP Business Agent Gary McSweeney is in negotiations, which are going well, Pasco said. She said the Unit’s overall experience with MAP has been really good and MAP representatives have been coming out to address existing labor relations issues in addition to participating in contract talks.

“We had a couple of times they’ve come at 7 in the morning,” she said. “They’re making themselves available, so that’s nice.”