What You Need to Know about Civil Service Rules Changes

In September 2017, the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) adopted rule changes that prohibit bargaining shift transfers, overtime assignments and positions, and layoff and recall procedures. (Read MCO’s announcement the day the MCSC approved the changes.) These changes, in effect, remove several important provisions in our contract and put them under the discretion of the MDOC and MDHHS.

Read the video script here.

As we get closer to the date these rules take effect, we’ll post information and updates related to the changes here at mco-seiu.org/civilservice.  Make sure you bookmark this page and return to it frequently. We’ve also addressed some issues in our members-only Facebook group.

Please be aware that to ensure we’re only sharing accurate info, we’ll only post information here once it’s finalized. If there’s a topic you care about that isn’t addressed, it’s because it’s still being worked out.

Remember, this is another political attack on state employees and their unions. We can’t back down. It’s time to stand up, and stand together. Thanks, members, for standing together in solidarity.

A Note from the President: Director’s Office Memorandums

The following are updates President Byron Osborn issued regarding the MDOC Director’s Office Memorandums on overtime distribution, annual leave, and seniority lists.

MCO Executive Board President Byron Osborn

MCO Executive Board President Byron Osborn

1/11/19: We are getting many questions on when the new mandate lists take effect and will they be reset. The Department said that the new lists take effect on the 13th and they WILL be reset. If your facility is doing anything other than this, notify your chapter reps immediately.

1/10/19: As you all know, two days ago Director Washington gave us an opportunity to meet with her to discuss several topics that were of significant concern to our membership. We spent a couple of hours having extensive conversation about how some of the new directives on overtime and vacation scheduling would affect our members. We also talked about several other topics and directives that have not yet been released. As I reported earlier, we thought the meeting went well and we were able to thoroughly explain our reasoning for asking her to reconsider some things. Today she notified us that after further consideration she will be making some changes to current directives and has also clarified several other questions that we had. The changes and clarifications are as follows:

Vacation scheduling- we asked for clarification on the process of signing up for open annual leave slots 28 days out or less and whether or not those slots would be honored. She confirmed that if an officer gets placed in the book for the open slot it will not be cancelled at a later date. We asked if she would consider changing the vacation selection process to allow selecting a prime AND a non-prime block in the first and second pass of the vacation book to allow officers to select the full number of days that they accrue in a year. She confirmed that she would evaluate the current process in the coming months and consider our request. We discussed the process for determining the number of annual leave slots for the year at each facility and asked for clarification on whether or not Wardens could request authorization to round up on the number of slots if need be. She clarified that Wardens can make that request.

32 hour rule- we asked her to reconsider only counting mandatory overtime toward the exemption and gave specific examples of why we believe that voluntary overtime should still count as well. She agreed with us and will be changing it back to include voluntary overtime.

Mandate line- we had extensive conversation on the mandate line and asked her to reconsider her decision to place 100% of the shift on the list and consider our earlier proposal. We stated that we believe that it’s an important incentive and reward for officers to be able to get off of a mandate list. We also talked about the current vacancy issues in the Department and acknowledged that at some facilities, our members are getting mandated at a dangerous frequency. We discussed steps being taken by MCO and the Department to improve recruiting efforts and get the vacancy rate down to where mandatory overtime isn’t an issue. She agreed that the vacancy rate is the biggest issue and that steps were being taken to hire a much larger number of officers this year. She has made the decision to place 90% of the shift on the mandate list and agreed to do away with mandating by position in the event that the list is exhausted. If and when it is necessary to mandate past the 90% line, it will be on a rotational basis by instance instead of by position. The mandate lists will be reset by seniority next week. We are hopeful that hiring is successful and that this topic can be revisited for further consideration.

Annual leave exemption for mandates- We requested that the leave exemption be amended to include RDOs. For example, if your RDOs are Sat-Sun and you have approved leave beginning Monday, then you are exempt from mandate on the Friday prior to your RDO. The Director agreed to make this change and include RDOs prior to approved leave.

CTO overtime- We discussed changes made to the CTO overtime procedure and requested that consideration be given to amending it to more closely mirror the prior process. The Director agreed and will retain the prior process.

12 hour shifts- We discussed 12 hour shifts and asked her if she would consider allowing chapter votes if staffing were to allow for it. She said she is not opposed to the idea. We discussed the concept of hybrid schedules to include 8 and 12 hour shifts and pointed to SLF as an example that has been working well. We know that this is a contentious topic for our members and our goal is to keep options open for our members to seek alternative work schedules and days off.

Pending directives- We had a brief discussion about the pending DOMs for transfers and assignments, but the Department has not yet finalized these processes. We presented our reasoning for wanting to maintain a transfer mechanism by seniority and also spoke about the value of the concept of bid positions, which provide consistency in the facilities and incentives for officers. The Director acknowledged our concerns on the topics and stated that they are working on the processes.

In summary, I believe that requesting this meeting with Director Washington was the right decision. We had an opportunity to go into detail on our concerns and she was willing to make changes to and clarify the above topics. I am hopeful that these types of interactions can continue as we move ahead and address these and other important issues that affect our members.

Byron Osborn
MCO President

1/8/19: Recap from meeting today with MDOC Director Heidi Washington – We spent two hours making our case for reducing the 100% mandate list, fixing the 32 hr rule, fixing the vacation scheduling and asking questions about assignments, transfers, bid jobs, 12 hr shifts, prime RDOs and set days off. She said she will consider our requests and get us a response “very soon.” I believe it will be within 48 hrs.

Summary of our requests:

Vacation DOM- We asked for confirmation that if an officer signs up for a vacation day 28 days out (or less) he will be assured of having the day and not have it cancelled due to operational need. She said if supervision puts you in the book, then it’s approved and won’t be canceled. If a warden decides not to allow us to put in for a day, then he must document why he’s not granting it.

We asked for next year that they round up when needed to determine vacation slots instead of always rounding down.

We asked to be able to pick 1 prime and 1 nonprime in first and second rounds.

Overtime DOM- we asked for 32 hr rule to go back to normal. We asked for less than 100% mandate list, we want members to have light at end of tunnel. We asked for CTO overtime to be kept as is, recording all hours worked and mandate by instance.

Pending DOM for transfers/assignments- we asked for same past practice of seniority order for transfers. We asked for retaining concept of bid jobs with no employer restrictions.

We asked for 12 hr shift votes if staffing allows – she said she’s not opposed to 12 hr shifts if feasible.

We asked about keeping prime RDOs and being able to go to set days off. She said they are working on those issues.

Overall good talk. She listened to our concerns and we had extensive conversation.

– Byron

1/2/19: I was just notified that the seniority lists on OMNI will be reset at midnight to fix the military service credit issue. The lists erroneously counted military time as state time when OMNI was updated yesterday, causing voluntary and mandatory lists to be inaccurate. So, should be correct tomorrow. I also asked for a remedy for mistakes made yesterday due to inaccurate lists, but have not received a response to that or the other handful of questions I sent to them about the OEL. We hope to have a meeting with the Director scheduled as soon as possible to address a growing list of issues.

– B. Osborn

1/1/19: I contacted the Department this morning about the mistake with the military time being credited on the seniority lists again and also about the facility shift commanders having no idea that the 100% mandate lists don’t take effect until the 13th.

I fully described to all of the problems that were going to happen if they don’t change that language back to the way it was. MDOC will contact all Wardens today about the mandate lists not being changed until the 13th.

I have requested a meeting with the Director at her earliest convenience to address these topics as well as the annual leave DOM and the pending decisions on bid jobs, assignments and transfers. Hopefully this time we get somewhere now that we can point out the problems. If your facility has messed up lists, please contact your chapter officials ASAP.

– B. Osborn

1/1/19: It’s been brought to our attention that as of last night, facilities placed everyone on the mandate lists and the Department credited military service time as state service time. This obviously messed up all the lists. I sent a message to the Department requesting an immediate meeting with both of them to fix this. Please report any violations to your chapter officials and document comments made by supervisors about any of these new processes.

– B. Osborn

12/30/18: 100% mandate list won’t take effect until Jan. 13, per the Dept. They are still deciding on a percentage threshold for allowing a 50% line, they hope to know before the 13th. To be clear, this means that per the DOM every joint starts off at 100%, but can be reduced to 50% if below the vacancy threshold. If your joint tries to use 100% on Jan. 1, notify chapter leaders ASAP.

The new DOM changes the 32 hr rule to only count for mandatory OT in the past 32 rather than include voluntary OT like it does now. I have asked the Deptartment why this change was made and for it to be changed back. No response yet. This was not a change they made us aware of.

Breaks in service – Civil Service did not grant a grandfather clause for prior breaks because it requires a rule change. We will now request a rule change to amend the current rule.

The Deptartment has offered us a Letter of Understanding that would allow officers to do shift swaps just like a RDO swap. 1st shift officer works for 3rd shift officer and vice versa, must be same pay period. Not signed yet, but we likely will.

Please make sure your chapter has posted the updates that were sent on 12/28 on the facility bulletin boards.

Note- new academy slated for end of January.

– B. Osborn

12/28/18: The Department also released a revised annual leave DOM today. There were not major changes to it, but the 28 day rule for signing up for open days was clarified. At the 28 day out mark, you will have until the end of the shift to put in for the day and the slot or slots will be awarded by seniority. Anything less than 28 days out will be first come, first serve rather than open until the end of shift.

I asked them about the status of bid jobs, shift assignments and transfers and was told that they have not yet prepared anything for release. So I asked if wardens or shift commanders were going to be arbitrarily moving officers from their current shift to another after the first of the year and the answer I was given was “No, absolutely no such plans.” They did not give answers to the questions of will bid jobs be retained or how shift transfer lists will be maintained or implemented. We obviously proposed keeping bid jobs and maintaining seniority based transfer lists. As soon as they share any additional info I will share it.

They also released a DOM on layoff/recalls. The language that applies to our members mirrors our current process of establishing a bump region and seniority based placement with the same recall rights.

In regard to all of these new DOMs and processes that are no longer in the contract, we can still grieve violations or abuse of these processes under civil service rules. A presentation was given to all chapter leaders at our November conference. There are some supervisors out there chirping about soon being able to do as they please with these processes without repercussions, and they will be answering a civil service grievance for their actions. All other violations of contract language will be grieved as we have always have with regular contract grievance.

As I stated in the earlier update today, we will continue to seek resolutions to our issues with these DOMs with the current Director and the new Governor. We are opposed to the annual leave DOM, the overtime DOM and safe to say we will be opposed to the DOM on assignments whenever they figure it out.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we will address the current debacle with excessive and frivolous employee discipline with the new Governor and seek common sense relief.  This is the tough stretch we knew was coming and the people responsible for it are kicked back waiting to see if we fold up over it. All we have is us, don’t break.

– B. Osborn

12/28/18: The new DOM for the overtime distribution process is supposed to be released today. The Department has informed us that the procedure and use of OMNI will stay the same, with the exception of the mandate list. There will not be any reference to the 50% line. It will say that mandates will be assigned in inverse order as they are now, but will apply to 100% of the shift.

However, I have been on the phone with the Department on and off for the last two days and they are now considering changing their mind on making the list 100% all the time. They are considering only putting 100% on the list at facilities that have a certain percentage of vacancies and LOAs. We don’t know yet what the percentage will be, but some time ago we suggested 15% if they weren’t receptive to our request to leave the 50% line alone altogether.

So what we have been told now is that even though the DOM when released today will reflect 100%, it wouldn’t take effect until the first full pay period in January and if they decide on a percentage threshold in the next week or so, they would revise the DOM to reflect the change. So it’s important to note that the DOM that comes out today (12/28) is already under consideration to be revised before it actually takes effect. It will likely make reference to either Warden or ADD approval to determine whether a facility stays at 50% or not. We have not changed our position with the Department that we disagree with changing the 50% rule at all, we believe that if they fill the vacancies statewide the topic isn’t even relevant. But in the meantime, if they agree to hold off on 100% at every facility we at least have a start.

– B. Osborn

 

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Members and Families: Tell Director Washington how her Decisions will Impact You

Below is information about an email MCO is urging all members to send to MDOC Director Heidi Washington and MDOC HR Director Jonathan Patterson.

Families of COs can also send a message to Washington and Patterson here to tell them how their changes will impact their family.

Thank you, members, for sticking together.

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MCO letter to Director Washington on annual leave DOM

Below is a statement emailed to MDOC Director Heidi Washington and MDOC HR Director Jonathan Patterson. It addresses their DOM released yesterday concerning annual leave scheduling and the passing of the vacation book.

In the coming days, MCO will ask members to take action to tell the director how this change will impact you, your families, and your facility. Watch your email and our website.

Stay safe.
– Byron

Director Washington and HR Director Patterson,

On behalf of the entire membership of MCO and our Executive Board, I am writing to let you know the truth about how state Corrections Officers feel about the working environment that now exists under your leadership. We believe it is toxic and dysfunctional. Instead of feeling appreciated and part of a team that provides an important service to the state, we feel targeted and further apart from management than ever before. An atmosphere of animosity and mistrust has been created between us and management. Frivolous and excessive employee discipline has replaced corrective action and common sense. We see a style of management that deters us from wanting to give you any extra effort. This atmosphere has turned good employees into disgruntled employees. Your own supervisors have expressed to us their frustrations with the excessive discipline and poor morale. Not so long ago, supervisors had the discretion to manage people and earn the respect of their employees. Now it’s all black and white, all perceived violations and errors get sent to Lansing where administrators hand out discipline on a conveyor belt.

On top of all of this our facilities have become critically understaffed causing mandatory overtime to skyrocket, driving morale down. The recruitment of new officers has been dismal for years and not until just recently did you take steps to address it. For years, we have been the primary source of recruitment. Virtually every new hire sought the job because they knew someone who already worked in the Department. We aren’t as likely to recommend this job to our friends and family now, and it’s because of the work environment.

Now, as if the excessive discipline and understaffing weren’t enough, you have decided to use civil service rule changes to alter our vacation scheduling and other seniority-based systems with the intent of creating incentive for new employees to stay. What you have failed to recognize is that vacation picks and seniority aren’t the reasons new employees aren’t staying. They leave because there are other jobs out there with similar or better benefits and a better work environment. You may not have the authority to improve some of the benefits, but you have the authority to improve the work environment. Instead, you are choosing to make it worse by taking seniority privileges away from veteran employees that have earned them. Your decisions won’t make new employees stay any longer, but they will definitely drop morale even further. We’ve asked you to work together with us in creating new processes that are fair and practical, yet you dismissed our proposals and took it upon yourself to impose your personal preferences on fair and practical systems we spent years building. Your decisions are a slap in the face of the once dedicated, dependable senior officers who have stuck with this Department.

In closing, while we are disappointed with the current working environment, do not mistake that disappointment for resignation. We have decided to let you hear our collective voice. MCO has been here for fifty years and we’ve experienced ups and downs in our working conditions before. They come and go, just like Directors do.

Byron Osborn
MCO State President

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Send a strong message of solidarity – wear the anniversary pin

IMG_6664editedemailIn facilities all over Michigan, MCO members are discussing Civil Service rule changes that are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2019. These changes are the result of a strategic attack on unions and another attempt by anti-worker organizations to silence the voice of workers and inject uncertainty about issues important to corrections officers and forensic security assistants.

Like our brothers and sisters who founded this organization, the members of MCO have met these attacks head on and refused to back down or be intimidated by politicians and cronies hoping for the worst.

At work, in bargaining or at Civil Service, we know that the fight begins with us and the only way to demand fairness and respect is by sticking together and standing united in our cause.IMG_6613editedemail

As a way of demonstrating our solidarity and commitment to each other, we are asking all members to wear this 50th anniversary pin on their uniform until the end of 2018.  By doing so, it sends a strong message – that you support your brothers and sisters and believe in the collective power of our union.

Also, it’s worth noting that MCO has heard rumors and chatter that supervisors are already saying they won’t allow officers to wear this pin but be aware that our contract explicitly allows members to wear pins to show our solidarity. This is a right and privilege most union members don’t have. Let’s not take it for granted and allow our colleagues to be given false information.

UntitledThis pin also symbolizes your resolve and our union’s proud tradition of not allowing outside influences – the Civil Service Commission, the legislature, the Department, or whoever else – to divide or defeat us.

We’ve faced challenges in the past and the fact that MCO consistently maintains the highest rate of union membership speaks to the tenacity and dedication of our members.

Now we face another set of challenges and we know that one officer or facility can’t do it alone. It will take all of us fighting together to keep what we have earned and protect what others are so desperately trying to take away.

As always, it’s up to us and no one is going to do the work for us. MCO is a union of 6,100 individuals and we know that together there is leverage in numbers.  It’s time to stand up for each other and show our solidarity.  Wear this pin on your uniform for the rest of 2018 and let everyone know that together,  We Are MCO!

Read President Byron Osborn’s letter about the pin here. 

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Civil Service Commission votes to adopt rule changes

The Michigan Civil Service Commission approved rule changes today aimed at standardizing several processes, including seniority calculations, overtime assignments and positions, and layoff and recall procedures. These changes aren’t scheduled to go into effect until January 2019.

The new rules also prohibit state employee unions from filing grievances on those issues. Additionally, commissioners reinstated the Rules of General Applicability, which, in cases of emergency, allows the commission to impose changes on state employees even if those changes conflict with contracts.

Commissioners Jase Bolger, Janet McClelland, and James Barrett voted in favor of the changes. Commissioner Robert Swanson voted against.

The vote was taken just before 2 p.m., after about four hours of comments from dozens of state employees, retirees, and others. Only two people – representing the Mackinac Center and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce – spoke in favor of the rule changes.

MCO President Tom Tylutki and MCO Vice President/Chief of Staff Andy Potter gave many comments urging the commission to vote no.

“24/7 operations are unique, and safeguards are already in place to run efficiently and safely,” Tylutki said. “MCO can go to any prison in the state, meet with the warden, and more times than not, get the issue resolved.”

The recruitment crisis could worsen, Tylutki said. MDOC wanted to hire 35 COs for the most recent class at Women’s Huron Valley, but could only hire 11, he said.

MCO comes to the table at bargaining not just with problems, but with solutions, Potter said.

“Our members do one of the most dangerous jobs that anyone can imagine,” Potter said to applause.

We understand the gravity these rule changes might have for members. As previously stated, these changes aren’t scheduled to go into effect until January 2019.  We have more than one year to work with the MDOC to discuss the possibility of maintaining our current processes and policies that we’ve grown accustomed to.

In the coming months, MCO Board members and staff will be visiting each chapter to explain what these changes may mean and how we are going to address them moving forward. Please watch your emails, the website, and the members-only Facebook group for more information.

Similar to Right to Work, this was done to further silence your voice in the workplace. But in Right to Work, members stuck together, and we’re still standing strong. If we continue to stick together, we’ll weather this storm, too.

Thanks, members, for your support.

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Bulletin: Important information on Sept. 20 MCSC meeting

You may have heard that some state employee unions are asking members to attend the Michigan Civil Service Commission meeting (MCSC) Sept. 20. MCO is a part of this union coalition.

The MCSC meeting Sept. 20 is public. Anyone may attend. Seating will be very limited, as we anticipate a large turnout of state leaders, speakers, and media. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at Capitol Commons Center (address and additional details are below). State employees will also be rallying outside the meeting.

MCO has agreed to share with fellow unions our parking lot and building for activities that day. Parking is going to be very limited throughout the entire area.

Additionally, MCO members who plan to come to Lansing are encouraged to gather at 8 a.m. at the MCO office for a discussion before walking to the MCSC meeting and rally.

At the MCSC meeting, the Commission will consider proposed rule changes that, if approved, would give the employer more power over work conditions. The proposed changes are one more tool the employer could use to silence your voice at work and make it difficult for MCO to represent you. These changes, if approved, will seriously defray relationships MCO has been trying to cultivate over the past few years with department heads, lawmakers, and other key leaders. MCO leaders have reached out to legislators, the governor’s office, gubernatorial candidates, current and former commissioners, and many others to ask for their support.

We are also asking MCO members to call Governor Rick Snyder and ask him to intervene. Get tips for your call.

Read more about the proposed changes in this press release and this statement.

Thank you, members, for your support.

MCSC meeting and rally schedule

  • 8 a.m.: Discussion on proposed changes and rally at MCO Central Office, 421 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing.
  • 10 a.m.: MCSC meeting at Capitol Commons Center, 400 S. Pine St., Lansing. (about one block from MCO Central Office)
  • 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Rally outside Capitol Commons Center.
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Call the Governor on proposed MCSC rules changes

MCO leaders encourage members to call Gov. Rick Snyder about the proposed Michigan Civil Service Commission rules changes. The Commission will decide on these proposed changes Wednesday, Sept. 20, so please call immediately. You can reach the governor’s office at (517)373-3400. If no one answers, leave a message.

Here are a few points you could make:

  • COs and FSAs are on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s hard enough to find family time. Giving the MDOC more power over scheduling and worksites could drastically affect my home life, my childcare plans, and more.
  • These changes could take away my voice in working conditions.
  • Morale among MDOC employees is the lowest of any state department because of our stressful schedules and the dangerous nature of our jobs. Relationships between employees and supervisors could worsen if MDOC is given more authority over working conditions.
  • MCO leaders have been trying to improve our relationship with the governor’s office. We want to be friends, not enemies. Now we need your help. Can you speak out against these changes?
  • (Some of our members voted for Rick Snyder. If it applies to you, you could say:) I voted for you. Now I’m asking for your support. Can you speak out against these changes?

Other tips:

  • Make your comments personal. Be sincere. Speak from the heart.
  • Be respectful and calm.

Make the call now. Thanks, members.

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Unions, attorneys examining proposed Civil Service rule changes

The Michigan Civil Service Commission will consider proposed rule changes that the state personnel director claims will improve efficiency and streamline employee issues.

A coalition of unions and attorneys are combing through these proposed changes to Civil Service Commission Rules Chapter 6, “Employee-Employer Relations.” The coalition is preparing to address the proposed changes and impacts they could have on collective bargaining.

The Civil Service Commission is scheduled to decide on these changes at its Sept. 20 meeting. If they are approved, the changes are scheduled to take effect in January 2019.

More details could be shared in the coming weeks. Please watch your emails and our website, mco-seiu.org.

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