Bills that would eliminate paid release time for union officials have passed the Senate Education Committee in spite of opposition from numerous school superintendents.
Many school administrators have written and testified against SB 795 and 796 to argue that union release time allows for more efficient, cost-effective cooperation between union and management.
Union release time allows important labor-management work to be conducted during business hours, benefiting both sides by allowing for regular contact between labor and management representatives to process day-to-day employee issues.
These agreements also allow for more robust cooperation in the form of work groups and committees that improve performance, efficiency, and safety in the workplace. Without release time, these conversations must happen after work hours, which could mean increased expense and less timely and efficient problem-solving.
Whether it is a few hours per month to handle disciplinary hearings, and process grievances, or a full-time union official on union leave, these arrangements are collectively bargained and agreed upon by both sides in the contract.
MEA lobbyists were successful in getting a provision removed from SB 796 that would have eliminated payroll deduction of union dues at Michigan community colleges.