LANSING, Mich., May 26, 2021- On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism held a hearing on House Bills 4639 and 4725 to provide arbitration rights for all of Michigan’s county corrections sheriff deputies, regardless of which unit they are assigned to. Representative Kelly Breen (D- Novi) testified with the support of lead co-sponsor Rep. Bob Bezotte (R-Howell).  

“The COVID 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 less rights and fewer protections than their counterparts in the same department just because of the division they work in.”

Because of a 1980 ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court, sheriff deputies who work in county jails are not considered eligible to go through arbitration.

“I appreciated the opportunity to testify on House Bills 4639 and 4725,” said Bezotte. “Corrections officers provide a necessary specialized service which is different from the day to day activities of other county sheriff department officers.”

“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 Officers Association of Michigan. “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.”