By Jennifer Gomori, MAPE Editor

While some people are concerned about what they post, text and otherwise share online, just as many view this as their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. No matter your view on the subject, legal advisors for MAPE are urging members to think twice before posting or texting anything sexual, racial or even political.

“You have a First Amendment right to say whatever you want to, but you don’t have a constitutional right to your job,” said MAPE Legal Counsel Catherine Farrell.

Public Employees should understand specific restrictions detailed in their contracts. “Look to the CBA to make sure you don’t violate it,” said Farmington Hills Attorney Arthur J. Weiss, who joined Farrell in a Social Media discussion with Union members during the Annual Open House in December.

Weiss recounted a case in which a Detective was accused of hitting on a witness and complainant. “There was nothing in the CBA for sexting, however it was clear the department could discipline him if they thought it was warranted,” Weiss said.

In an effort to support the dedicated men and women in public service careers, Cleary University is offering the Courage and Public Service Tuition Program, an exclusive pricing clearylogoopportunity for all undergraduate and graduate programs. Taking into account the sacrifices and courage it takes to be a public service employee, Cleary’s tuition program provides online and flexible evening classes and allows up to 90 transfer credits. Attend classes at one of Cleary’s three convenient locations: Howell, Detroit, or Ann Arbor. Click here for more about academic programs and degrees offered at Cleary. 

By Jennifer Gomori, MAPE Editor

MAPO representatives recently participated in a meeting with the leadership of the West Michigan Policy Forum to discuss ways to tackle unfunded liabilities in communities without breaking the bank when it comes to the state’s budget. This meeting was connected with Gov. Rick Snyder’s Responsible Retirement Reform Task Force.

Attending on behalf of MAPE members was Rich Heins, Michigan Association of Police (MAP) President, to hear concerns of task force members which include state and local officials, private sector business leaders and employee representatives. Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO) President Mike Sauger is a member of Governor Snyder’s task force. MAPO represents MAP and several other Michigan public safety unions.

“We’re going to have all the information first hand because he’s on that task force,” Heins said of Sauger.

The Feb. 15, 2017 meeting in Grand Rapids at Western Michigan University highlighted concerns leaders have with municipalities, such as Detroit and Flint, both previously placed under the leadership of state Emergency Managers to fix their budgets in an effort to avoid bankruptcy. Going forward Snyder and other leaders are trying to avoid situations like these where communities cannot afford to fully fund pension plans and retiree healthcare.

“Now the governor has taken this on as one of his causes,” Heins said. “He’s trying to figure out a way to fix it without it being entirely on the state.”

Union leaders want to ensure their members aren’t stuck paying the bill either now or in their retirement. “In the lame duck session this past year, there was an effort to pass legislation that would harm retirees and the prospect for retiree health care for active employees” Heins said.

Fire has put together a comprehensive guidebook for women in public service careers. In this guide, readers can access in-depth insights and research about careers in homeland security, forestry, public administration, cyber security, emergency management, criminal justice and paramedics.

This guide highlights careers for women in public service, throughout history and today.

A 2011 report by the Department of Labor found that women are 50 percent more likely than men to work in public sector jobs, with 18.2 percent of all female Americans serving in this arena. Click here to learn more about public service jobs for women and information about potential salaries and education requirements for specific positions. began in 2012 to provide quality data and information for students pursuing a career in fire science. The website provides tools and resources to help students and professionals make well-informed decisions about their education and career training.

What a public employees' union must provide members in today's world

In order to guarantee its members the highest level of employment protection that is absolutely necessary in today's world, a public employees' union must provide total representation. This means that a complex battery of resources and a broad spectrum of specialized expertise must be readily available, at all times, to every member of the organization. In other words, the union must be armed with complete service capacity and a dedicated staff of eminently qualified professionals who will consistently deliver these services in a timely and coordinated fashion.

Specifically, all members must be assured:

1. Maximum appropriate financial compensation for the work they perform.
2. The best possible employment benefits, including pension and medical insurance.
3. Working conditions maintained at the highest standards.
4. Protection of all employees' rights, as established by law.
5. Immediate access to top-quality legal counsel whenever necessary.
6. Direct availability of professional assistance in matters of financial, insurance and retirement planning.
7. The strongest possible collective voice in communicating needs, opinions and positions to national and state lawmakers.
8. An internal communications program that keeps everyone in the organization fully informed, shares ideas, and functions as a two-way interconnection between the membership and the organizational leadership.
9. A media relations program which informs the public about the organization's position on issues affecting the membership and/or local associations.
10. A leadership structure which represents the membership's collective interests and goals in the creation and implementation of the organization's operating policy.

Total representation therefore entails delivering full-service in negotiating and enforcing contracts, guarding all members' rights, helping members plan their futures and protect their families, providing the membership with political and communications clout and guaranteeing that the organization's operating policy reflects the sum total of the membership's needs, objectives and ideals.

The Michigan Association of Public Employees is a full-service public employees union in every sense of the term. Each element of MAPE's extensive professional services is profiled on the following pages.