Bills that would grant correctional officers the right to be included in collective bargaining were passed by the House on Tuesday.
Sponsored by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), HB 4438 would expand the definition of a public police or fire department employee to include a corrections officer. Under the bill, these employees would be included in negotiations to resolve labor disputes. HB 4439 , sponsored by Rep. Bob Bezotte (R-Howell), would amend the current law to include gender neutral language.
The main bill in the package, HB 4438, passed 88-18, and HB 4439 passed 90-16.
Police officers and firefighters are barred from going on strike due to the nature of their job, but they are provided binding arbitration. That negotiating tool for corrections officers was struck down by a court decision in 1982.
“These bills simply add county sheriff’s deputies working as correctional officers to have access to binding arbitration,” Breen said in support of the legislation during a speech from the House floor and keeps corrections officer on the job.
She outlined several benefits including allowing all public safety officers to have the same negotiating benefits, helping local governments easily balance their budgets in a way that includes local jail officers.
“Public safety officials from across the street and at every level support these bills because they help our deputies do their job safely,” Breen said.
From Gongwer News.