LANSING, Mich., April 15, 2021 – State Rep. Kelly Breen (D–Novi) and 49 bipartisan cosponsors introduced House Bill 4639 on Tuesday to restore arbitration rights for all of Michigan’s sheriff deputies, regardless of which unit they are assigned. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the difficult conditions that many of our deputies face while working in our county jails to keep our communities safe,” said Breen. “The current disparity in this law has led to a situation where the sheriff deputies who work in our jails are given fewer rights and protections than their counterparts in the same department just because of the division they work in.”

Public Act 312 of 1969 provides Michigan’s police officers and firefighters with the ability to resolve their workplace concerns in mandatory arbitration within two weeks of a grievance being filed. Because of a 1980 ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals, sheriff deputies who work in county jails are not considered eligible to go through arbitration. 

“PA 312 has been an important tool for helping to ensure Michigan’s public safety officers remain safe and secure while they are on the job,” said Kenneth Grabowski, the Legislative Director for the Police Officer’s Association of Michigan (POAM). “House Bill 4639 will close this loophole in the law and ensure that all of our sheriff deputies and county corrections officers are treated fairly and safely no matter what their assignment may be. POAM is excited to support this legislation and hopes it will move swiftly through the Legislature this year.”

 HB 4639 has been referred to the House Committee on Tourism.