PUBLIC EMPLOYEE STATUS; GRAD RESEARCHERS                                     S.B. 185 (S-5):

                                                                                                    SUMMARY OF BILL

                                                                                     REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE







Senate Bill 185 (Substitute S-5 as reported)

Sponsor:  Senator Jeff Irwin

Committee:  Labor




The bill would amend the public employment relations Act to delete a provision that excludes graduate student research assistants and other individuals who don't have sufficient indications of an employee-employer relationship from being considered public employees.


MCL 423.201




In 2012, graduate student research assistants at the University of Michigan (UM) organized in support of improved working conditions. According to testimony, Public Act (PA) 45 of 2012 was enacted in response to the UM organization; the PA had a provision specifying that graduate student research assistants are not public employees and may not organize. Some people believe that graduate student research assistants should be allowed to organize and so it has been suggested that the provision added by PA 45 be deleted.


Legislative Analyst:  Alex Krabill




The bill would have no direct fiscal impact on the State, local units of governments, or public universities. The provisions of the bill would allow certain workers to be defined as public employees, entitled to representation or collective bargaining rights under the Act. The bill would not mandate action to be taken; therefore, any fiscal impact would depend on the actions of those employees.


Date Completed:  4-20-23                                                   Fiscal Analyst:  Ryan Bergan

Cory Savino, PhD

Josh Sefton




This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.