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Tue December 13, 2011
Panel sends UM union issue to judge, excludes Attorney General
An administrative law judge will decide whether graduate students at the University of Michigan get the chance to try and form a union.
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission has decided to send the case on for a hearing.
The commission also ruled that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette cannot be a party to the case. Schuette has argued the commission should reject the unionization proposal.
Patrick Wright of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation represents a group of students that’s opposed to unionizing. Wright criticized the commission’s decision to deny those students’ request to be a party to the case.
“The only parties that are going to be admitted to be full parties in that hearing are the university and the union, which both want the graduate students to be designated as public employees,” said Wright.
The commission said the students Wright represents can present evidence to the administrative law judge.
At issue is whether the students are public employees. If the judge rules they are, they’ll be allowed to hold an election.
-Allison Lyons, Michigan Radio Newsroom
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission is expected to decide today whether graduate students at the University of Michigan can try to form a union. Some graduate students who also work as researchers and teachers have been trying to unionize for years.
Now, Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, also wants to get involved.
So today at its public meeting the Commission will need to decide two things.
First, graduate students need to be employees to unionize. The Commission has to decide if the students are employees, and might pass the decision along to an Administrative Law Judge.
Second, the Commission has to decide if the Schuette can get involved.
In a letter to the commission Schuette says a graduate student union would make U of M less competitive, hurt the state, and that the Commission decided the issue thirty years ago.
His letter says it’s important Schuette be involved on behalf of the state to express these concerns. His office thinks it’s likely the Commission will allow him to take part as the matter moves forward.