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Bloomfield Township Employees tout GELC speed, accountability in first contract

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: March 5, 2021

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Bloomfield Township General Employees had varying pay rates and benefits with a pending change in township leadership, so they decided to unionize through GELC to bring consistency.

“We got several different bargaining groups,” said GELC Labor Rep. Frank Klik. “The pay scale was all over the place and how they promoted somebody per se. There was a lot of discussion on that to get things equalized in certain job descriptions.”

The Employees were referred by POLC-represented Bloomfield Township Police. “We felt most comfortable working with them. They had experience with the Township and other Township Employees spoke very highly,” said Local Union President Charles Markus.

In the middle of negotiations over the group’s first contract, Klik suffered severe injuries and ended up in the hospital following a paraglider crash.

“Everyone jumped in and helped him out. It was a total team effort on their part. We didn’t skip a beat whatsoever,” Markus said. “The entire time everyone’s been completely accountable for everything over there. That accountability is really nice and rare nowadays.”

Markus said immediate support was provided by GELC Director Rob Figurski and GELC Labor Attorney Brendan Canfield. He was also impressed by Klik, who was quick to point out his miscalculation and lesson learned from the crash.

Having their benefits spelled out in a contract for the next six years was a relief to 50-member unit. Effective April 1, 2020, all bargaining members received raises of 2.5 percent in the first and third years of the contract, 2 percent in years two and four and 2.75 percent in the last two years. GELC helped them obtain a new benefit – an annual equipment allowance. They receive $300 in the first and last years of the contract and $600 in 2021 through 2024. The groups will have incremental increases in health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket maximums, but they maintained all of their existing retirement benefits.

“I think that the biggest part of the contract for us was it was just really important to have it signed before a new administration came in,” Markus said.

“The Township wanted to be able to change things whenever they wanted,” Klik said. “The outgoing supervisor wanted to lock in their benefits. We know where it is going for the next six years.”

“With a changing possibility of several different people on the board and positions within the Township, it’s unknown where we might be headed,” Klik said. “That was the idea of the long-term contracts. It gives them time to at least get to know the Employees and sometimes it gives them time to realize maybe these people do deserve these things.”

Bloomfield Township Employees are impressed with GELC representation. “Both Rob and Frank were super proactive, very responsive, mornings, nights, weekends. There was never a hesitation in response,” Markus said. “They always provided the information we requested. They were always willing to listen to us, support us, explain the ramifications of what we were looking at based on past experiences.”

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