Commission denies bid to unionize University of Michigan graduate student research assistants
Detroit Free Press
August 10, 2011
A drive to unionize University of Michigan graduate student research assistants hit a major snag Monday when the Michigan Employment Relations Commission rejected a union move to label the research assistants as public employees.
MERC officials, voting 3-0, said they saw no reason to overturn a 1981 ruling that research assistants are not public employees and thus cannot unionize.
Earlier this summer, the U-M Board of Regents voted 6-2 along party lines to allow the existing Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) union to move ahead with a unionization vote.
President Mary Sue Coleman opposed the move, arguing it would lead to a rupture of the academic relationship between the graduate student research assistants and their professor/mentors.