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Michigan Governor Signs Law Excluding Student-Athletes from the Definition of Public Employee for th

In mid-December 2014, Michigan State Representative Al Pscholka introduced House Bill 6074 that was recently signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Synder. Under Michigan law, a public employee is “an individual holding a position by appointment or employment in the government of this state, in the government of 1 or more of the political subdivisions of this state, in the public school service, in a public or special district, in the service of an authority, commission, or board, or in any other branch of the public service.” The new law excludes student-athletes from the definition by stating “[a]n individual serving as a graduate student research assistant or in an equivalent position, a student participating in intercollegiate athletics on behalf of a public university in this state, or any individual whose position does not have sufficient indicia of an employer-employee relationship using the 20-factor test announced by the internal revenue service of the United States department of treasury in revenue ruling 87-41, 1987-1 C.B. 296 is not a public employee entitled to representation or collective bargaining rights under this act.” Accordingly, student-athletes at public institutions (i.e., Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, etc.) are not considered employees and, thus, not afforded the opportunity to join a union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

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