Lawmakers consider bill to ban 'release time' pay for teachers union reps

Mar 14, 2018

State Capitol building Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill on its way to the state Senate floor would prevent school union reps from getting paid release time when they're on union business.   SB 796 passed the state Senate Education committee on a four to one vote Tuesday.

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg [R-Troy) insists his bill is not infringing on local school boards' authority when negotiating contracts.

“We’re not taking away collective bargaining.  We’re not taking away leave time,” says Knollenberg. “We’re just saying…taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for work being done by a private organization.”

The Michigan Education Association says the bill interferes with unions' ability to work effectively with school districts.

“This is another attack on the ability for workers and employers to enter into a contract that addresses both of their needs,” says the MEA’s Doug Pratt.  

Pratt says release time allows union leaders to work efficiently with the school district during work hours.