The following are updates President Byron Osborn issued regarding the MDOC Director’s Office Memorandums on overtime distribution, annual leave, and seniority lists.
The current Annual Leave DOM does not have specific guidelines on vacation picks after a voluntary shift transfer. Some facilities weren’t giving officers any picks at all, some were giving one block like the prior contract said and some were going to let officers repick their full number of days on the new shift. I asked Deputy McKee to address this chaos and put specific guidelines in the DOM. I gave him examples of how the prior contract and many of our prior secondary agreements on annual leave addressed voluntary shift transfers and vacation picks. He agreed to have the DOM revised as follows:
After a voluntary shift transfer, an officer will be granted 5 days in the new book (open block or single days). Officers can only select days that were unpicked during the initial passing of the book. Any blocks or days that came open due to cancellation (retirement, promotion, etc.) cannot be selected ahead of everyone else on shift. Those days will be available to the entire shift as open incidental slots. If the shift transfer is later in the calendar year and the officer has already used his/her allotment of picks on their prior shift, then the 5 days won’t be granted on the new shift. I know there are some vacation books that are filled all the way and the 5 days won’t be able to be granted. It is what it is.
For the facilities that were awarded additional leave slots beginning June 1, the agreement on those slots was that they would only be available as incidental leave since the books weren’t being repassed. So, new transfers to shift cannot select those open slots ahead of the entire shift.
This may be slightly different from what some chapters had in place before, but please note that all prior secondary agreements have been eliminated and we currently did not have any language at all. I tried to keep it simple and fair.
McKee said they will be working on revising these two DOMs this week, so hopefully this will help us with mandates and shift transfers.
Finally, some good news. Our continued efforts to address issues affecting our membership have been productive. Although the process has been long and frustrating at times, we maintained our goals and patiently kept working toward resolutions. We have been focusing on the annual leave slots, mandatory overtime, bid jobs and transfers and have successfully secured the following resolutions:
Annual leave slots- Any shift that rounded down on the number of leave slots when the number should have been rounded up will have an additional slot granted to the shift beginning June 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. The vacation books will not be repassed, the additional slots will be filled using the usual process for incidental days.
Mandatory lists- The mandate line will go back to 50%. If necessary to go past the line, mandates will be assigned by inverse seniority order of the top half. No more mandates by assignment. This will take effect beginning Saturday morning, March 16.
Assignments/transfers/RDOs- All current bid jobs and officers currently holding them will be retained. Bids will continue to be posted and filled under the same procedure reflected in the prior contract language. Shift transfers will continue to be awarded by seniority using voluntary shift transfer lists. Facility transfers and closer to home transfers will be processed using the same procedure reflected in the prior contract language. Prime RDOs will be retained and filled using the same procedure.
I want all of you to know that if it weren’t for all of you continuing to support and believe in the value of our organization, we would not have the means or the ability to advocate for ourselves and address issues like these. These revisions were a step in the right direction and we appreciate the Department’s willingness to address issues with us even though we may not agree on everything. Your State Executive Board and MCO staff will continue to work through these difficult times. Our strength is our solidarity.
I had another follow up conversation with Director Horne this morning and am glad to report that she and her staff have agreed to review and consider the 32 hour rule language for us. We discussed our recent success in keeping the rule in place in MDOC and our desire to keep it in place for our members in DHHS. We will continue to address staff shortages with the DHHS administration, it is our position that if vacancies are addressed through hiring, our members won’t have to suffer through mandatory overtime. In the meantime, the 32 hour rule protects FSAs from the dangers of excessive shifts. We also discussed the Main Street assignments and she is looking to implement an alternative arrangement for those staff rather than abolish the positions. Details are not yet ironed out but we are optimistic that the positions can be maintained. We will continue to pursue these issues and I am optimistic that they can be resolved locally with Director Horne. I understand that the constant changes and confusion has been difficult at your facility, we are working at getting resolutions for you. Within the next couple of weeks myself, Marcus Collins and Scott Waggoner from the state board will be visiting the facility to discuss these and other issues affecting all of you and provide assistance to your local chapter reps as they adjust to their positions.
2/27/19: Over the past several weeks we have been having follow up conversations with Governor Whitmer’s office and the Director’s office about ongoing issues that impact our membership.
Much of our discussion has revolved around our concerns with recent changes made to the annual leave scheduling process, the overtime process and the pending processes on assignments and transfers that we have been anticipating. Although it feels like it’s taking a long time and I haven’t had a report in a few weeks, I can tell you that the conversations have been productive and I am optimistic that several of our primary issues will be addressed soon. I will have a more detailed report as soon as possible.
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.
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.
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