Senate nixes paid union release time for public workers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A divided Michigan Senate has narrowly voted to prohibit public employers from authorizing paid release time for unionized employees to conduct union business.

Republicans approved the bill Tuesday 20-17 and sent it to the House, with Democrats and some Republicans in opposition.

Supporters say government workers shouldn’t be compensated for time not spent working for taxpayers, and unions can bear the expense for workers to handle grievances, bargaining and other functions.

Opponents say not having union representatives available during work hours to address issues would undermine local control and hamper management’s ability to address issues quickly. Democrats charge the bills are another Republican attacking on collective bargaining.

The legislation next heads to the GOP-led House.

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