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Hastings switches to POLC for full-time representation

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: May 24, 2017

— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

The idea that your labor representative is only working their job part-time and secondary to another job is pretty unsettling. So when POAM notified Hastings Police they would be cutting back on their representation, the group decided they could definitely do better.

“They were not happy with POAM specifically because they were being told they would get a part-time rep as opposed to a full-time rep,” said POLC Labor Rep. Greg Huggett, explaining that the POAM rep is a full-time law enforcement officer. “In his spare time, he would do what we do on a full-time basis. That’s a serious disadvantage for them. Then if he’s working, he‘s not able to respond.”

“There really wasn’t much of an explanation – our rep was looking forward to retiring,” said Dennis Lajcak, Hastings Local Union President, of the part-time announcement. ”He didn’t handle our negotiations well. There was a very strong dislike between our city manager and him.”

The POLC was in the forefront of Lajcak’s mind. He knew one POLC Labor Representative personally and his co-worker knew another.

“I know (POLC Labor Rep.) John Stidham and one of our guys retired from Battle Creek and is friends with Greg (Huggett),” Lajcak said. “He had Greg come in and talk to our unit. (The POAM) came back and said ‘we will do anything we can to keep you.’ We kicked it around and had a vote and it was unanimous for POLC.”

The 11-member group had been with POAM for at least 18 years.

“We didn’t want a part-time rep and we wanted a fresh start,” Lajcak said. “I do feel we were being treated as a minority so to speak.”

The POLC signed their unit and went to bat for them doubling their raises in a contract settled in September 2016. Not only did the small unit receive a better contract than in the past six years, relations with the city administration vastly improved.

“We negotiated a pretty good contract for them,” Huggett said. “The last two contracts, they received one percent raises and had to go to 312 arbitration. A one percent raise at 312 is kind of low in my opinion. The group was quite happy with 2 percent without having to go to arbitration to get it.”

“We went to mediation and settled there instead of arbitration like past two contracts,” Lajcak said. “We settled fairly with the City and even the city manager said it was pleasant dealing with Greg.”

The Field Training Officers (FTO) also received a half hour of straight time pay for each shift they have a trainee with them. “Our FTOs weren’t getting money or anything for being FTOs. They had extra work and they were not getting paid,” Lajcak said.

Hastings Police Department also received clarification on the use of mandatory overtime so that patrol and command could fill shifts without it being based upon the rank of the person missing.

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