Advanced Leadership Development Series arbitration training helps build member leaders

In December, MCO’s downstate chapter leaders took a new training unlike anything the union had ever offered before. IMG_2803web

The Advanced Leadership De­velopment Series arbitration training gave chapter leaders a 360-understanding of the arbitration process — everything from filing a grievance, to gathering evidence, and how to guide members through the process. They even heard from a panel of arbitrators themselves, who gave their views on what makes a strong case. MCO Legal Affairs Coordinator Jeff Foldie designed the curriculum and led the training.

Chapter leaders learned how the Executive Board decides what situations should go to arbitration, and the pros and cons of taking a case to a third-party arbitrator. It’s true that arbitration can sometimes result in broad language that has implications on everyone in the bargaining unit. This can be a good or bad thing, but either way, it’s crucial our member leaders understand what’s at stake.

The MCO Executive Board and staff are pleased to offer this training to upstate chapter leaders this month.

In anticipation of the event, here are a few testimonials provided by member leaders who took the December training:

“I thought it was great training. I thought it will come in useful for representing members when it comes to cases going to arbitration, (I’ll) know how to handle it prior to it getting to that stage. And knowing that this information came from arbitrators themselves was a real eye opener to being able to explain it to our members and our facilities, to help them better understand what they’re looking at when they’re going into the arbitration phase….I thought it was awesome.”

– Mike Lennox, ARF

“I think it was informative. I think we got some good insight on how the arbitrators make their decisions, as far as the cases and what they look for when they make a determination. And also it helps the officers understand the role the arbitrator plays along with Jeff Foldie, when they come up with the idea to award the case or not award the case. It was great, actually. I enjoyed it.”

-LaTese Walls, WHV

“You really get to see the whys instead of just … what the end result is. I learned more than just, ‘OK, this took place , these are the basic simple things that went with it.’ I learned the whys, and the hows, and how they got there, and how they made the decision. It opens up your eyes more in terms of the whole process, instead of just one little part of it. I liked being able to pick Jeff’s mind and get his feedback from his perspective on a contract and as far as why the union does certain things, why they chose certain grievances, how they chose the grievances.”

– Lorraine Emery, IBC

“It was an intensely engaging and intelligently structured course focusing on the arbitration process. After 12 hours of lecture and discussion, we were given the opportunity to hear analysis and engage in discussion with three arbitrators on cases that we had previously analyzed. This experience was enlightening, to say the least.

Having only been the MCO Chapter President at RMI for a year, it is fresh in my mind how intimidating and overwhelming the disciplinary and grievance processes can be to navigate. I’ve done countless hours of research and have had countless hours of conversations with other MCO Representatives from across the state. We are fortunate to have a network of knowledgeable officers who want nothing more than to have each others backs and to assist each other whenever needed. We are truly brothers and sisters. While educating myself and receiving a great deal of assistance from others over the past year has prepared me to provide reasonable and adequate representation to our members, my brothers and sisters at The Michigan Reformatory deserve much more than ‘adequate.’

The training that I was fortunate enough to be part of is evidence that MCO is stronger than ever, intelligently guided, and there for the sole purpose of support of our members. We are moving forward with an increasingly intense focus and I am grateful to be part of it. MCO is dedicated to preparing our chapter leaders to vigorously defend and support our members with intelligence and strength.

While I will always have plenty more to learn, the MCO Leadership Development Arbitration Training has prepared me to provide rock solid support to our members, all of whom I consider to be family. We walk through the gates, behind the walls, together every day, not knowing what battles and horrors we may encounter. The last thing any of us wish to worry about is facing discipline that threatens our livelihoods. We’re a team behind the walls, placing each others’ safety first, putting our lives on the line for each other. My hope is that you all find comfort in the fact that I am dedicated to protecting your livelihood, both inside the gates and out, and that MCO is dedicated to providing me with the resources, knowledge, and experience to do so.”

– Adam Earley, RMI

“To all my union members in the Upper Peninsula…please take advantage of the arbitration training I received in December. We must be prepared to negotiate with the employer and deal with issues with our members in the future. Take this training and you will be prepared. Jeff Foldie is an asset we need to take advantage of.”

– Jon Hoath, LCF

“This training equipped me with great information to improve the leadership of my chapter. Chapter leaders play an important role in how grievances and even arbitrations are resolved, and I feel better prepared now to lead members through the process.”

– Darren Ansorge, MTF

This training series is part of MCO’s changes to grow member strength and engagement. The Executive Board is taking steps to make sure chapter leaders have the tools and information they need to support members in an environment where union members could easily come under scrutiny. The Board thinks this training is critical for the development of leaders and the future of our organiza­tion.

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12.17-18.15 Advanced Leadership Development Series arbitration training