Move Forward: The Value of Union

UnionAs we approach the end of 2018, MCO’s Move Forward campaign concludes with the value of Union.

Move Forward has always been about much more than a simple poster, but what began as a statewide campaign to highlight the exceptional values of our members has grown into something much more important.

Over the past year, we have celebrated the values of corrections and forensic officers and re-defined our profession throughout the State of Michigan. We’ve brought these values to bargaining, the legislature, the Civil Service Commission and everything else we do on behalf of our membership.

In the public or in our institutions, these values have set the backdrop for who we are and what we are about.  They have allowed us to reshape the narrative of our profession and illustrate the values that make our members and our union a leader in our industry and important voice in securing long overdue respect and dignity in the workplace.

“I’m proud of our values and to be a corrections officer in the state of Michigan” said Macomb Corrections Officer Bob Artman. “Despite the recent legislative and administrative challenges officers have faced, our union remains committed to fighting for its members and providing us a platform to show who we really are, at work and in the community.”

That sense of pride and professional respect has led to wins in more ways than one.

In 2016, MCO won recognition and health benefits for survivors of officers who die in the line of duty. Our Officer Dignity Initiative brought awareness and improvements to the handling of dress outs and sexual deviant behavior by inmates toward staff and inspired two bills (HB 4118 and 4119) currently pending in the legislature.

This year alone, our members have advocated on behalf of 17 bills to increase the safety and security of Michigan prisons and championed more awareness of PTSD in corrections, leading to the development of the MDOC-EPIC team on Employee Wellness (which includes MCO Executive Board Member Marcus Collins) and $50,000 legislatively ordered study on the issue.

Our union has faced challenges in the past – bargaining impasses, assaults, riots – but we’ve kept up the fight and always stuck together.  Move Forward is yet another way of displaying our resolve and showing we are up to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Move Forward doesn’t end here. We must continue to be guided by the values that unite and advance us as sisters and brothers in the Union.

What does Move Forward and the value of Union mean to you? Email your thoughts to anita@mco-seiu.org.

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