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Michigan legislature passes school union dues bill

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Update 4:15 pm

The Michigan legislature has passed a bill to prohibit public schools from automatically collecting union dues from the paychecks of teachers and other employees.

Republican Representative Joe Haveman says the bill’s intent is to focus schools on educating children.

 “The focus of our school administration has to be on teaching the kids.   Let’s get out of the business of collecting bills for other people," says Haveman.

Critics complain the real intent is to weaken teachers’ unions.

Supporters say the change will allow public school teachers and other employees to choose to write personal checks to pay their union dues.

The bill is headed to Governor Snyder’s desk.


Original Post 1:59 PM

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan Senate has narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit public schools from automatically deducting union dues from the paychecks of teachers and other employees.

The measure was approved by a 20-18 vote Wednesday with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. It returns with changes to the Republican-led House, which approved the measure in September.

Critics say the proposal is an attempt to weaken the membership and finances of teachers' unions.

Supporters of the bill say it would put more money in the paychecks of teachers, who could then choose to write checks to unions to cover dues.

The Senate's passage of the bill comes one day after a union coalition said it has begun collecting signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.