By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Rochester Patrol Officers were getting tired of being docked for wage increases by their Union, so when they learned the POLC handled their dues much differently, they opted to switch representation.
After spending well over a decade represented by the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM), the group voted unanimously, 10-0, in favor of the POLC representing them.
“I think it was the structure of the organization itself,” said Local Union President Michael Knight of the reasoning behind the change in representation. “We were just a little frustrated with the structure and how every time we would negotiate a better benefit, they would raise their dues yearly. Every time you get your yearly raise, their union dues are a percentage of your pay.”
Rochester Patrol Officers were drawn to the Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) after being informed that POLC members elect their governing Executive Committee, which sets the dues rates.
“We liked how POLC has a board made up of dues paying contributing members and they decide when the dues go up,” Knight said. “It’s not based on an arbitrary administrator’s decision.”
The 22-member group officially became POLC members Nov. 1, 2022, well before their bargaining agreement expires. “Our contract is up at the end of June (2023),” Knight said. “So, POLC is representing our bargaining unit as a whole, with the current contract and any sort of discrepancies with the City. It’s kind of a one-stop shop.”
Knight was impressed with the professionalism displayed by the POLC Deputy Director during his initial contact with the Union.
“My experience has been good. I met with Jim Stachowski originally and he kind of gave me his spin on things,” Knight said. “He didn’t come in and try to disparage POAM. He laid out how (the POLC) operates, what we can expect – just the pertinent information we needed.”
Stachowski and POLC Executive Director Rob Figurski provided an impactful formal presentation to the group as a whole. Following their vote approving the POLC, Knight met with their newly assigned POLC Labor Representative Chris Hild.
“(The POLC) seems much more approachable,” Knight said. “It seems to me like anytime I’ve had a question or was curious about something, it’s much more customer service oriented. So, so far so good.”