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Snow Day forgiveness bills pass out of committee despite concerns about hourly workers

Flickr User Kate Ter Haar

Hourly workers at schools are concerned about a bill in the state House that saves schools from having to make up some snow days.

Some labor groups are against the bills. That’s because they don’t get paid unless they work – and the bill doesn’t have any requirement that school districts reimburse those workers for the lost days.

Tim Greimel is the legislative director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25. That’s an organization that represents many hourly employees in the school system like maintenance workers and bus drivers. Greimel said their employees only get paid if they work. The group wants the bill to ensure that hourly employees will be paid if snow days are forgiven.


“They live on modest incomes,” Greimel said. “Typically they make somewhere in the range of 10 to 15 dollars an hour. They are not people who live high on the hog by any means.”

The bill passed out of the state House committee without including pay for hourly employees.

Bill sponsor, Representative Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) said the Legislature shouldn’t step in when workers can negotiate their own contracts.


“We felt and the chair felt that it may be better handled locally through those negotiations and conversations that are already occurring,” he said.

The bills now go to the Ways and Means committee before they can head to the House for a full floor vote. Though if the bill makes it through the House, it will likely hit a roadblock. Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), opposes snow day forgiveness.