Enclosed in this article are links to the OPEIU Scholarship applications, rules and regulations. Please remember to complete the application fully, then send to the MAGE office so we can verify for OPEIU that your membership is in good standing. Read on for the link to the applications.
We are now halfway through the 2019-2020 Michigan legislative session, and if the first year was anything to go by, year two could be a tumultuous one. Last year began with Governor Whitmer calling for a $.45 per gallon fuel tax increase to fully fund road repair and construction. It ended with a budget standoff, an unprecedented use of the line-item veto pen, and a final compromise budget that restored much if not all of the nearly billion dollars in cuts and transfers made by Governor Whitmer. While there were moments of bipartisan collegiality (e.g. no-fault auto insurance reform), much of the year was marked by fighting words.
We enter 2020 with the relationship between the Governor’s office and the Legislature on shaky ground. This is understandable, since the Legislature is controlled by Republicans and the Governor is a Democrat. It will be interesting to watch as we begin the 2020-2021 budget process in February how the two branches will interact. The Governor will present her State of the State Address on Wednesday January 29, and she will present her 2020-2021 Fiscal Year budget proposal on February 6.
For the last eight years, the Michigan Legislature has been able to finish the upcoming fiscal year budget by June or July. However, for the first time in 8 years we have split partisan power between the Legislature and the Governor. Therefore, House and Senate leaders have decided to hold off before presenting a budget to Governor Whitmer. The deadline for having a budget in place is the beginning of the next fiscal year: October 1, 2019. Because it seems likely that a budgetary showdown will occur between the Legislature and the Governor this year, it is possible that Legislative leaders feel that their hand is strengthened by delaying completion of the budget for as long as possible.
In other news, the debate over the future of the Caro Psychiatric Hospital continues; the Attorney General dismissed legal actions against state employees over the Flint water crisis (although future action is expected); and the Marijuana Regulatory Agency in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is preparing to expand its staff in preparation for implementation of recreational marijuana laws passed on the ballot last November. More on these stories below.
The House and Senate have nearly completed their work on their first drafts of the 2020 state budget. They have both decided to scrap Governor Whitmer’s call to increase the gas tax by $.45 per gallon. Instead, they have attempted to reduce General Fund spending across most departments in order to free up more funds to dedicate to road and bridge repair and maintenance. Governor Whitmer has pledged to veto any budget that fails to provide at least $2 billion in new transportation funding, and it is looking more and more like she will be forced to either make good on that threat or back down.
Also this month, the Legislature passed legislation making sweeping changes to Michigan’s Auto No-Fault Insurance laws, and the House is reviewing changes to state and school employee retirement benefits. More on these issues below.
Congratulations Demetrius Starling! Posted December 17th, 2018
We are proud to report that another MAGE officer has received a Director position in the Department of Health & Human Services. Demetrius has accepted a temporary assignment to Work Out of Class in a Director position overseeing the dual counties of St. Clair and Sanilac.
Demetrius has been serving on the MAGE Board of Directors for many years. “Demetrius has worked tirelessly to assist his fellow MAGE members for many years and he has been a committed, faithful employee of the Department”, said President Quattrin. “It’s always nice to see a sincere, dedicated, conscientious employee get recognized”.
It’s been a tumultuous two months since the Governor and Legislature settled on a 2020 budget about which no one is happy. The past six weeks have provided little clarity on how the Legislature and Governor will work together moving forward. After the Legislature’s presentation of a finalized budget a mere three days before the end of the fiscal year, and the Governor’s unprecedented use of the line-item veto and administrative board powers, trust is presently a rare commodity in Lansing. Governor Whitmer and Legislative leaders have both proposed their own supplemental budgets that would restore the bulk of the nearly $1 billion that was line-item vetoed on September 30, and there is even some overlap in the proposals. However, with over a month gone by to allow dust to settle, the two sides seem no closer to a compromise agreement on restoring the cuts, let alone on a plan for future road funding.
After a hard-fought election, the next governor of Michigan will be Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. While Democrats made gains in both the House and Senate, Republicans kept their majorities in both chambers. The Legislature is returning to Lansing for the “Lame Duck” session that could include several attempts to make more changes to various pension laws. We may also face attacks on public employee collective bargaining rights as the Republican leaders see the next few weeks as their last chance before a new Democratic administration takes over.
“It’s Your Health, Your Families and Your Constituents We’re Fighting to Protect” Washington, D.C. – Nurse members of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO, from around the country descended on Capitol Hill on Friday, May 5, 2017, to meet with their legislators and demand safe nurse to patient ratio legislation aimed at protecting nurses, patients and their families.
Budget Vetoes Roil Lansing
The Legislature and Governor Whitmer managed to complete the 2020 budget process and avoid a government shutdown. That is about the most positive thing that can be said about this year’s appropriations process. At the end of September, the people of Michigan witnessed a budget battle that went down to the very last minute, produced a record number of line-item vetoes, saw the unprecedented use of executive power to shift funds from one line to another, and that left over $500 million in General Fund dollars on the table. It also concluded with no deal on long-term road and infrastructure funding.
The MAGE Compensation Process for the non-exclusively represented employees (NEREs) has culminated with the Civil Service Commission approving a 3% general wage increase, effective October 2017 and no increases in healthcare premiums.
The Michigan House and Senate are returning this week from their summer recess. They have just over a month to reach a budget agreement with Governor Whitmer in order to avoid a government shutdown. The Governor has already announced her desire to have a “Plan B” that would keep the government open even if she and the Legislature cannot reach an agreement on the budget and on road funding by September 30. The next few weeks will tell whether such a plan is needed.
The focus of the Legislature continues to be squarely on the 2020 budget – and just as importantly – whether a significant increase for transportation funding will be included. While the roads are getting 90% of the legislative and media attention, several other questions will also be answered in the next month’s budget debate. These include the future of the Caro Center Psychiatric Hospital, whether the School Aid Fund will continue to be used to pay for higher education, and how deeply some departments may be cut in order to pay to “fix the damn roads.”
More on these issues below.
Please join us in congratulating Parker Millar, winner of the 2019 Romeo Corbeil/Gilles Beauregard Summer Camp Scholarship! Parker is the son of MAGE-OPEIU Local 2002 member, Kelly Millar. This is just one more example of why it pays to belong to MAGE-OPEIU Local 2002!
Don’t forget to turn in your applications for the MAGE Scholarship/Student Debt Reduction! The application period closes 5PM on the last week day of August.
I am disappointed to report that we have received a final ruling from the Supreme Court on our 3% lawsuit. Although MAGE prevailed at the Court of Claims, the State appealed to the Supreme Court. The court concluded that the Civil Service Commission has plenary and absolute authority over the compensation of state employees.
Here we go again, it's the same old story. When the private profiteer take over jobs historically performed by public employees. Bid the contract low, then demand more money....even when they've been doing a deplorable job.
MAGE will be hosting its Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 4, 2019 beginning at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at the Comfort Inn, 2424 South Mission Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858.
All MAGE members are welcome to attend at their own expense.
If you will be attending the MAGE Annual Meeting, please RSVP by April 5, 2019 to the MAGE office by calling 517-694-3123 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Legislature will return next week from their Spring Recess, and the outlook for next year’s budget discussions is as cloudy as ever. Governor Whitmer’s budget proposal hinges on a $.45 per gallon gas tax increase. While there was little immediate reaction from the Republican-controlled Legislature, their messaging has been slowly coalescing into what could be a complete rejection of that proposal. Without those funds, the Governor’s proposal falls apart. Lansing is eagerly awaiting to see what the Legislature’s alternative might be.
The first month of a new legislative session is coming to a close, and it has been a whirlwind of meeting new legislators, perusing committee assignments, and re-acquainting ourselves with policy makers in new positions. Moreover, the changeover from the Snyder Administration to the Whitmer Administration is moving along slowly but steadily as her cabinet and key staffers have been announced on a piecemeal basis. One of the last department heads to be named was Robert Gordon, the new DHHS Director. Mr. Gordon previously was a member of the Obama Administration where he served as the acting deputy director at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and also as the acting assistant secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.
The Governor presented her State of the State address on February 12 in which she made several positive remarks about state workers and their value to Michigan. Her budget presentation will take place in early March, and it will be there where she lays out more detailed specifics about her policy goals.
My name is Al Quattrin. I am the President of MAGE (Michigan Association of Governmental Employees). MAGE represents the Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains and Wardens in the MDOC. I spent 32 years in the MDOC. I testified to the Civil Service Commission regarding the Aramark contract and warned of the dire consequences...
At the end of every two year legislative session, there is a period after the election results are tallied, but before the new elected officials are sworn into office. This period is known as the Lame Duck session, since it allows recently defeated or term-limited lawmakers to set policy for approximately six weeks. This year, the election results changed the power structure in Lansing starting January 1, and the individuals currently in office took extraordinary steps to cling to that power.
The sheer volume of legislation passed by the Michigan House and Senate over the past month has dwarfed all recent Lame Duck sessions. In fact, the Legislature passed more bills in the last four weeks of session than they had in the previous two years. The pace was so rapid that the House and Senate often worked well into the early morning hours voting on one bill after another. The Legislature finally adjourned on Friday, December 21 at approximately 8am.
Since then, Governor-elect Whitmer has made an increasing number of announcements about her new cabinet choices. She has also stated her intent to keep the Department of Health and Human Services intact, addressing rumors that she might decide to split it again into two separate departments. More on these issues and others below.
Pictured are 2nd Vice President Wimbush, Commissioners Swanson and Blockett and President Alan Quattrin (L-R)
MAGE members will recall that the state has been at an impasse with the unions and MAGE over pay and demanded insurance concessions for FY 14/15. The State had demanded that all employees be placed into the new State Health Plan which would increase deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and total out of pocket costs.
The Michigan Legislature is halfway through the 2013-2014 session. On some fronts, issues remain in flux. The recent changes to the Michigan Court of Claims will have an as yet undetermined impact on litigation over payroll deductions for state employees' pensions.
The Michigan Court of Claims was established in the State Constitution to hear cases against the State of Michigan. Lawsuits seeking monetary compensation are referred to the Court of Claims, which processes them.
Attached you will find the rules, regulations and application for the OPEIU 2019 Student Debt Reduction Program.
All applications must be sent to MAGE and signed by the MAGE Local 2002 President or Secretary/Treasurer before submission to OPEIU. Any application that is incomplete or unsigned will be returned to the Local Union Office for follow up with the member/application. This may cause the application to be delayed or even denied if it is not timely submitted.
More information can be found on the OPEIU Website.
The application deadline is June 30, 2019. Take advantage of these benefits, it really does pay to belong!
OPEIU is pleased to introduce the newest union benefit for all OPEIU members – the OPEIU Free College Benefit. Just as the name implies, OPEIU members and their families can now earn an associate degree completely free of charge!
We would like to take a second to recognize all of our nurses this week! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. It does not go unnoticed.
Attached you will find a Nurses Week flyer. We want to ask our nurses to print the flyer and send us photos of them and other members with this flyer to be submitted to OPEIU! They would like to share these photos on their social media feeds next week.
If you submit a photo, please submit names and names of your unit.
The Court of Appeals (COA) went back to the 1963 Constitution today to see if a 2011 law asking state employees to contribute four percent of their salary to their pension plan or switch to 401(k) plan was constitutional.
NEREs To See 1% Base Pay Increase from MIRS...
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) today approved a 1 percent base pay increase for Non Exclusively Represented Employees (NEREs), but those employees are still burning over a pay inequity they say occurred in Fiscal Year (FY) '11.
The Legislature wrapped up their summer recess with a two day session last week. They will not be in session again until October, and even that is expected to be abbreviated. The focus is completely on the November election right now, and with it shaping up to be one of the more competitive elections in recent years, legislators are spending all of their time on the campaign trail.
As previously communicated in a memo dated August 1, 2012, on November 8, 2012, eligible employees will receive lump sum payments in accordance with collective bargaining agreements and the approved Coordinated Compensation Panel recommendations.
The Legislature has wrapped up the Fiscal Year 2018-19 appropriations process and has recessed for the summer. Before they left, they passed a large package of bills dealing with sexual assault in response to the events at Michigan State University.
Judge Rules on 4% Retirement Pay Lawsuit Posted September 28th, 2012
State employees have won another battle in their fight over benefits with Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature.
Ingham County Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk, in an opinion released today, ruled unconstitutional a 2011 state law that requires state employees who are members of the defined benefit pension plan to put 4% of their pay toward the retirement fund.
Judge Draganchuk said Public Act 264 of 2011 infringed on the constitutional authority of the Michigan Civil Service Commission to set compensation for state employees.
"By mandating that members contribute 4% of their compensation to the employees' savings fund, the Legislature reduced the compensation of classified civil servants - an act that is within the sphere of authority vested in the Civil Service Commision," Draganchuk said in a 12-page opinion.
A 2010 law that required state employees to pay 3% toward retiree health care was earlier declared unconstitutional for the same reason. That Ingham court ruling was upheld on appeal.
State officials said this case is different because employees have the option of switching to a 401(k) style retirement plan if they don't want to pay the 4%. But Draganchuk disagreed.
"PA 264 requires every member who elects to remain in a defined benefit plan to pay 4%," she said.
An appeal is expected.
Attention Corrections Members Posted September 20th, 2012
This message is to inform you that bump and/or layoff letters resulting from the closure of the Tuscola Residential Re-entry Center and the re-purposing of the Ryan Correctional Facility will be issued to the affected employees on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. Any layoffs will be effective October 27 and bumps will be effective the pay period beginning October 28, 2012. Questions regarding these actions should be addressed to Labor Relations Director, John DeTizio at: email@example.com.
Unemployment Insurance Agency Reduction in Force Posted August 8th, 2012
Pursuant to discussions with Frank Russell and Marie Lisle, MAGE is providing the following information. Updates will be provided as decisions are finalized.
First Phase: Expire Limited Term Appointments by August 31, 2012. This will affect between 170-180 positions. Many of these employees came from HSS and will retain bump rights back into the bargaining unit.
Second Phase: 225 permanent positions will be eliminated. NEREs currently are employed in 65 of those positions. They will abolish approximately 34% of each classification by work location throughout the State (Lansing excluded).
MAGE members should know that their bump rights are defined in Civil Service Regulation 2.01. This Regulation prescribes that NEREs may apply employment preference (bump rights) only to the County they are currently working in.
MAGE will continue monitoring the Reduction in Force. If you feel that your employment preference rights have been violated you may contact MAGE at 1-800-477-6243, or email John DeTizio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Michigan Legislature is back in session after the two-week spring recess. Over the last month, House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittees have been holding hearings to review Governor Snyder’s budget proposal.
MAGE WELCOMES A NEW LABOR RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE: Please welcome Ralph Riddle, Jr. to the MAGE family! Posted August 3rd, 2012
MAGE WELCOMES A NEW LABOR RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE:
Please welcome Ralph Riddle, Jr. to the MAGE family!
Ralph served as a manager of Human Resources in the Department of Natural Resources for over ten years where he handled training, collective bargaining, safety issues, investigations, corrective actions, and discipline.
Ralph has also worked in Family Independence Agency as a Labor Relations Representative for 10 years and as Manager of the Employee Relations Unit in the Department of Human Services where he handled labor relations issues for 30 District offices in Wayne County. In this position Ralph was involved with contract negotiations and representing the department in numerous grievances, arbitrations, civil rights and technical appeal hearings.
"We wanted to hire someone who could hit the ground running, and I know Ralph can do that.", John DeTizio, MAGE's Director of Labor Relations said. "I've worked with and against Ralph for over twenty years and I was always impressed with his honesty and integrity. He is a bright competent, capable guy who always demonstrated compassion and understanding. Ralph is one of the State employees I've always kept my eye on as a possible MAGE employee. I am pleased and happy for our members" MAGE wins again!!
The Michigan Legislature is in the middle of a two-week spring recess. Over the last month, House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittees have been holding hearings to review Governor Snyder’s budget proposal. We are approximately half-way through the budget process and most subcommittees are preparing their initial reports for their individual departmental spending numbers.
Lawsuit on the 4% Pay Deduction to Remain in the Defined Benefit Pension System Posted July 23rd, 2012
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Dragenchuck will soon rule on the question of whether it was unconstitutional to force state employees to begin paying 4% of their annual pay to remain in the defined benefit pension plan. The Attorney General argued that HB 4701 was constitutional because it gave employees a choice to remain in the plan or move into the defined contribution plan, which all employees hired in after 1997 are currently enrolled in.
The judge's decision will likely be appealed by either party, therefore culmination of this lawsuit remains in the distant future.
Michigan Association of Governmental Employees
OPEIU Local 2002
6920 S. Cedar, Suite 7
Lansing, MI 48911