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Michigan Gov’t Denies Grad Unions

University of Michigan graduate research assistants continue their protest as the bill that would prevent their collective bargaining rights passes the State House and Senate.

By | March 5, 2012

image: Michigan Gov’t Denies Grad Unions Michigan CapitolFlickr, CedarBendDrive

Michigan CapitolFLICKR, CEDARBENDDRIVE

A bill that would prevent the unionization of graduate research assistants at University of Michigan passed the State Senate and House last week and is awaiting Governor Rick Snyder’s signature, according to the Detroit Free Press. The protests have split the campus with professors saying that such a move would not necessarily improve job quality for the students and could harm research,  while graduate assistants want to be recognized as employees, rather than mere students, to ensure negotiating rights.

Starting last April, over half of the graduate research assistants signed a petition calling to overturn an earlier ruling stating that graduate employees were students who conducted research in order to complete their dissertations.  The students, on the other hand, are calling for protection from unfair job practices that some professors impose.

The protests have splintered the campus, with students on one side and professors on the other, both sides accusing the other of intimidation and unfair tactics, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education. If the bill is signed, union leaders have said that they plan to continue to fight via litigation if necessary.

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Comments

Avatar of: Seth Koehler

Seth Koehler

Posts: 1

March 5, 2012

"The protests have splintered the campus, with students on one side and professors on the other, both sides accusing the other of intimidation and unfair tactics".

This characterization is far from accurate; many graduate students at Univ. of Michigan feel that union representation is not appropriate for our situation while there are faculty members who are not opposed to GSRA unionization.

Avatar of: Jon Larocca

Jon Larocca

Posts: 1457

March 5, 2012

As a GSRA currently at the University of Michigan in the Biomedical Sciences, I am very disappointed that the author did not research the "facts" this article is based on. There are literally hundreds of GSRAs that do not want to be absorbed into a union or considered employees. We are students and should be recognized as just that. For our biomedical research programs, there is no need for a union. 
If other departments have problems then only those departments should be represented by a union.There is far from a polarized disparity between students and faculty as the article would lead you to believe, actually it is quite the opposite. A large portion of GSRAs want nothing to do with the union and agree with the position of the faculty and president of the university. Further the statement that "over half of the graduate research assistants signed a petition calling to overturn an earlier ruling..." is, again, completely untrue and is misinformation the union has been spreading.I for one am appalled at the thought of being absorbed into a big business union.

Avatar of: 22Victor22

22Victor22

Posts: 6

March 5, 2012

"Further the statement that "over half of the graduate research assistants signed a petition calling to overturn an earlier ruling..." is, again, completely untrue and is misinformation the union has been spreading."

What's funny is that is in turn misinformation. The union hasn't said that the petition drive was to overturn the ruling. A majority of GSRAs, in fact, signed cards that would trigger the process for an election.

Avatar of: Jinhui Chen

Jinhui Chen

Posts: 1

March 5, 2012

"A majority of GSRAs, in fact, signed cards that would trigger the process for an election. " ---- I really suspect the data without identity check. Like the open letter from the faculty which is signed by hundred of professors and GSRAs, why don't you make the data publicly available? Don't say it is protecting privacy. This is an open argument, and nothing should be kept under the table.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

"The protests have splintered the campus, with students on one side and professors on the other, both sides accusing the other of intimidation and unfair tactics".

This characterization is far from accurate; many graduate students at Univ. of Michigan feel that union representation is not appropriate for our situation while there are faculty members who are not opposed to GSRA unionization.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

As a GSRA currently at the University of Michigan in the Biomedical Sciences, I am very disappointed that the author did not research the "facts" this article is based on. There are literally hundreds of GSRAs that do not want to be absorbed into a union or considered employees. We are students and should be recognized as just that. For our biomedical research programs, there is no need for a union. 
If other departments have problems then only those departments should be represented by a union.There is far from a polarized disparity between students and faculty as the article would lead you to believe, actually it is quite the opposite. A large portion of GSRAs want nothing to do with the union and agree with the position of the faculty and president of the university. Further the statement that "over half of the graduate research assistants signed a petition calling to overturn an earlier ruling..." is, again, completely untrue and is misinformation the union has been spreading.I for one am appalled at the thought of being absorbed into a big business union.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

"Further the statement that "over half of the graduate research assistants signed a petition calling to overturn an earlier ruling..." is, again, completely untrue and is misinformation the union has been spreading."

What's funny is that is in turn misinformation. The union hasn't said that the petition drive was to overturn the ruling. A majority of GSRAs, in fact, signed cards that would trigger the process for an election.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

March 5, 2012

"A majority of GSRAs, in fact, signed cards that would trigger the process for an election. " ---- I really suspect the data without identity check. Like the open letter from the faculty which is signed by hundred of professors and GSRAs, why don't you make the data publicly available? Don't say it is protecting privacy. This is an open argument, and nothing should be kept under the table.

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