LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Labor disputes with teachers and school boards often come when a teacher’s contract ends.

But the question is: will benefits like health care from a teacher’s old contract continue after that teacher is no longer under contract with a school board?

Under former Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, the GOP-led Michigan Legislature passed a law that made it so teachers in line for a step increase in their pay would not get that increase while negotiating a new contract.

In the time between old and new contracts, teachers still have to pay their health care benefits.

Don Wotruba, executive director of the Michigan School Board Association, said a potential bill could undo those changes from the former Gov. Snyder’s administration.

“We have said we think it is appropriate that we don’t see employees getting increases when there is not a contract,” Wotruba said.

Teacher unions will not be happy with the news, and there is the potential for negotiations to get ugly.

“We’re trying to look at this in the long term to make sure we have the appropriate balance at the bargain table,” Wotruba said.

Political consultant John Sellek said he does not have a dog in this hunt but with so many federal COVID-19 dollars, he thinks unions will argue that schools can afford to aid teachers during the period between contracts.

“Unions will still have the upper hand about how much more cash there is going to be going to schools, and that’s going to make it a lot easier for the unions to claim every benefit they want to get for their members and put the school boards at a disadvantage,” Sellek said.

One school source reported that school boards will use the dispute over benefits as “leverage” to get a new contract.

Teaching unions will certainly have something to say about that.