About MAPE

By Fred Timpner, MAPE Executive Director

The anti-union sentiment spreading across this nation seemed to take hold in the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently ruled workers can decide if they want to pay dues in a unionized workforce in the fredJanus vs. AFSCME case. Yet “free riders” enjoy better working conditions, hours, wages and benefits thanks to the same union they refuse to support.

Unions exist to protect employees’ rights to fair working conditions, reasonable hours and wages. When MAP, MAPE and MAFF members band together to advance their concerns with Employers through collective bargaining, positive changes occur. In fact, unions have been so successful at the bargaining table that some Employers are working hard to weaken them.

The “right-to-work” campaign focused on individuals rights to choose whether to pay dues. When it was implemented in Michigan, proponents wanted workers to believe they were benefitting by having a few extra dollars in their pockets. But free riders not only cost the union money, they cost themselves money in the long run. When you refuse to support the union representing you and your co-workers, it takes away needed funds to protect worker rights, benefits, and jobs.

The Michigan Association of Public Employees was founded in 1984. The original founding locals met and decided that since all of the major public sector unions were more interested in collecting dues then providing services to the members, it was time to form their own Union.

What followed was the creation of a new Union dedicated to representing the public employee in Michigan. All of the dues money collected stays in Michigan. It does not go to a strike fund or to an International Union headquartered in Washington D.C. Instead, it is used to improve the wages, hours and conditions of employment for MAPE members throughout Michigan.

The control of the Union rests with the members, as it should. Each member organization selects one person to sit on the MAPE executive board. The board then chooses the four officers from among the sitting members of the executive board. It is the responsibility of the executive board, and the officers, to set the policy and direction of the Union. The full-time, professional staff of the Union is charged with the responsibility of implementing the policies set by the board.

The dues are only twenty-five dollars per month per member and are set by the executive board of MAPE. The dues covers the costs of a full-time labor representative assigned to the local to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement and all of the associated costs related to that.

Once the new labor agreement is ratified by the local members and signed, MAPE works with the local officers to ensure that compliance by the Employer with the contract occurs. This not only means that MAPE will provide free training to all stewards on grievance processing, but stands ready to pay costs of arbitrating the dispute.

Our full-time staff of labor attorneys are ready to proceed to court for enforcement of grievance arbitration awards or to the labor department to pursue Unfair Labor Practices. No extra charge. MAPE pays their costs as well.

Just how effective is MAPE in representing its members? Just ask our members. Like you, they are public employees trying to preserve their health care and pensions without losing their economic status in the community. Ask them about MAPE and how effective it has served their members. After all, what have you got to lose except your wages, benefits and economic future.

A headquarters building designed for efficiency

The location and the resource structure of a union's central office combine to have a direct and profound impact upon the organization's ability to serve its membership.

The headquarters should be centrally situated in order for labor relations' professionals to have rapid access to all members. It should be in the closest possible proximity to the offices of the union's other service providers, such as its legal specialists. It should have the capacity to host large and small-group meetings, to house the modern hardware that is essential to sophisticated business operation and to provide the kinds of functional accessories that create a setting of which all members can be proud.

MAPE's central office is located near a network of expressways interconnecting Michigan's cities. The labor relations' staff thus is within swift driving range of points throughout the state. The office is literally across the hall from the Coalition of Public Safety (COPS) Health Trust, the organization's affordable health care plan which has been negotiated into several contracts. It boasts comfortable meeting and conference facilities and contains all of the state-of-the-art machinery, including a complete internet presence that is necessary to a modern union operation. And, just as important, it is kept working at peak efficiency by a highly qualified support staff that includes a research assistant.

Efficiency is both the objective and the result of the headquarters office design - the kind of efficiency that makes certain all members' needs receive immediate and full attention.