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2011 House Bill 4246: Limit unionization of grad student research assistants

Public Act 45 of 2012

  1. Introduced by Rep. Al Pscholka (R) on February 10, 2011, to require government and school employee union contracts to include a provision stating that an Emergency Financial Manager appointed by the state to clean up the fiscal affairs of a financially failing local government or school district may reject, modify or terminate the union’s collective bargaining agreement. Note: The tagline above describes the substitute adopted by the Senate, which changed the bill's purpose.
    • Referred to the House Local, Intergovernmental, and Regional Affairs Committee on February 10, 2011.
      • Reported in the House on February 17, 2011, without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Al Pscholka (R) on February 23, 2011, to require House Bill 4214 become law for this one to, but not the other bills in the package revising references in varioua other statutes. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 23, 2011.
  2. Passed 62 to 47 in the House on February 23, 2011, to require government and school employee union contracts to include a provision stating that an Emergency Financial Manager appointed by the state to clean up the fiscal affairs of a financially failing local government or school district may reject, modify or terminate the union’s collective bargaining agreement. See House Bill 4214.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on February 24, 2011.
    • Referred to the Senate Education Committee on February 24, 2011.
    • Motion by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on March 7, 2012, that the Committee on Education be discharged from further consideration of the bill. The motion passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Substitute offered in the Senate on March 7, 2012, to replace the previous contents of the bill with those of Senate Bill 971b banning unionization of grad student research assistants. This is parliamentary maneuver to get the new provision into law with "immediate effect" before U of M student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting. Note: "Immediate effect" requires a two-thirds vote, which Republicans have in the Senate, but not in the House. However, the House had approved "immediate effect" for the previous version of this bill, which supposedly still "counts" even though the new version is very different. If challenged in court, a key question would be whether the immediate effect threshold is supposed to be enforced by the Legislature itself or by the courts.. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
  4. Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012, to establish that state university graduate students who work as research assistants are not considered government employees for purposes of enrolling them into a union, if their work terms do not meet an IRS "20 factor test" for employee status. This relates to a Mackinac Center lawsuit filed on behalf of graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) at the University of Michigan. See also House Bill 4003, which would more broadly prohibit “stealth unionizations,” including an ongoing one involving home heath care aides and the SEIU union. Note: Originally introduced with a different purpose, the Senate amended this bill in a parliamentary maneuver to get the provision into law before UM student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting..
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Motion by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on March 7, 2012, that the bill be given immediate effect. The motion passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  6. Received in the House on March 7, 2012.
  7. Passed 63 to 47 in the House on March 7, 2012, to establish that state university graduate students who work as research assistants are not considered government employees for purposes of enrolling them into a union, if their work terms do not meet an IRS "20 factor test" for employee status. This relates to a Mackinac Center lawsuit filed on behalf of graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) at the University of Michigan. See also House Bill 4003, which would more broadly prohibit “stealth unionizations,” including an ongoing one involving home heath care aides and the SEIU union. Note: Originally introduced with a different purpose, the Senate amended this bill in a parliamentary maneuver to get the provision into law before UM student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  8. Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on March 13, 2012.

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