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Kalkaska County Non-Supervisory Employees choose POLC to be heard

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: April 3, 2018

— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Kalkaska County Corrections, Deputies & Dispatch Employees have been patient and done their research. Now they just want a fair shake during contract talks. That’s why they chose the POLC to represent them.

“It had just been years of butting heads with them and we felt it was time to change and start new,” said Kalkaska Dispatcher Todd Jones of time with Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). “We were not getting what we thought we should be getting as far as representation goes. We heard things about (POLC Labor Rep.) John (Stidham) from some of our neighboring departments.”

Stidham’s notable reputation as a responsive union representative among area POLC units is one of the reasons the group of about 40 became POLC members in September 2017, leaving the POAM after more than three decades of representation. “We’re just looking to be treated fair and be heard,” said Jones, the local union president. “We’re all set with John. He knows what we need and he’s already given a (contract negotiation) proposal. John’s been doing a good job.”

Before POLC representation, Kalkaska County Non-Supervisory Employees conducted their own research. The Employees did their own comparisons of wages with other departments to demonstrate they should receive pay increases. After all that work, they were told during negotiations that it wasn’t possible to give them a pay raise, Jones said.

“We did all of our comparisons, went though county audits. We did all that on our own. We were never even allowed to present it,” Jones said. “Everything that we did, as far as research, kind of fell on deaf ears.”

Jones said the unit had 15 bullet points to present, but instead the County opted for cheaper insurance to save money. “This resulted in a loss of coverage, no out of pocket savings, and we didn’t get any raises,” Jones said.

This time around, with POLC representing them, Kalkaska County Non-Supervisory Employees are “just trying to get an honest contract,” Jones said. “It’s been a very long time since we’ve had wage increases. They always talk about the (in)ability to pay. They always wanted to make cuts.”

“Their attorney does all their negotiations so we don’t even get to talk to the County,” Jones said. “All we want is an honest effort and we’ll go from there. (John) has gone above and beyond what he’s had to do so far.”

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