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Baraga County Sheriff’s Deputies, Corrections Officers dissatisfied with status quo service

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: November 6, 2019

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Baraga County Deputy Sheriff’s and Corrections Officers were concerned their old union was a little too comfortable with status quo. As the time for contract talks drew near, they decided to move forward with the Police Officers Labor Council leading the way.

“We’ve been with POAM as long as I’ve been here, which is 15 years,” said Deputy Joe Brogan. “Things had run their course. We weren’t really satisfied with the representation we were getting.”

Brogan said the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the County Corrections Association were contacted by Lloyd Whetstone, POLC Membership Services representative, earlier in the year asking how they liked their existing representation. “We kind of kicked it around for a few months then reached out and set up a meeting,” Brogan said. “We weren’t really pleased with how things were going when we had a meeting with (POLC Labor Rep.) Hal (Telling) and Lloyd. I guess the rest is history.”

Both units brought in the POLC by unanimous vote in July with their contracts set to expire Sept. 30, 2019. “They seemed they were eager and motivated and they were confident in their union,” Brogan said of POLC representatives. “The things we felt were lacking with our old union seemed like strong points with the POLC. The guys in our unit said we need somebody who’s going to be a little more aggressive when it comes to bargaining.”

“There was too much comfort level with where we were at,” Brogan said of POAM representation. “There wasn’t an eagerness for them to bargain. It was kind of like ‘this is what the County says they have, and that is what we’re going to do.’ There wasn’t a lot of fight left.”

Brogan said the units will be seeking wage increases and would like to bridge contract language gaps. “There was a discrepancy between the Deputies’ contract and the Corrections’ contract in which the CO’s had the ability to comp their overtime and Deputies don’t,” Brogan said. “We want to get everyone on the same page.”

Another language issue the groups would like to address is retiree health care insurance. Currently, retirees are provided health insurance between ages 59 and 62. Employees would like to see that coverage language effective from the date of retirement, which could be earlier than age 59.

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