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Bay County Corrections Sergeants move to POLC pays off in first contract

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: May 8, 2020

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Bay County Corrections Sergeants took the opportunity to create their own unit when they joined the POLC along with Corrections Officers & Records Specialists in October 2019 and that move paid off.

When the Sergeants were with their former union, the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM), they didn’t feel like their unique circumstances were being addressed.

“They were part of the same contract and upon switching over to us, they entered into the agreement with the Employer that they could become their own unit,” said POLC Labor Rep. Chris Watts. “Command Officers typically have more responsibilities. They became their own unit for compensation for the additional duties and responsibilities.”

“We were just allowed to split, so we’re a brand-new unit,” said the Sergeants Local Union Chief Steward Jon Oliver. “Our interests might be different than regular Correction Officers. We’re more easily able to negotiate for a smaller group of people,” he said of the 7-member unit.

The prior Bay County Corrections unit was represented by POAM for about 12 years, Oliver said. “We had been with the POAM for a long time,” he said. “It became a thing where they became very complacent, very stagnant. Our local unit Rep. didn’t really have contact with any of us that I was aware of.  A lack of communication was the biggest thing.”

The Sergeants first POLC-negotiated contract solidified the change in union representation was key.  Now Sergeants receive 10 percent higher wages than Corrections Officers and Sergeant Ones (the equivalent of Lieutenants) receive 15 percent more than Corrections Officers.

“We were able to establish a rank differential of 10 and 15 percent above the highest paid Corrections Officer between two ranks of Sergeants,” Watts said.

“We don’t have to negotiate about wages anymore,” Oliver said.

Their clothing allowance increased from $450 to $500 and life insurance boosted from $35,000 to $40,000. Sick Leave increased to 40 hours per year for family illnesses, which aligns with the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act. Prior to this contract, Employees only received 24 hours for family Sick Leave.

“We increased funding in the event they went on Sick Leave,” Watts said.

“Overall the change has been positive,” Oliver said of the move to POLC. “I had worked with POLC a long time ago when Lloyd Whetstone was our Rep. I always liked Lloyd. He was a straight shooter. Chris has done a very good job.”

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