370-member “Students Against GSRA Unionization” joins Melinda Day in opposing effort to unionize graduate student research assistants
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011
Contact: Patrick Wright
Director, Mackinac Center Legal Foundation
Michael D. Jahr
Vice President for Communications
MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation late yesterday submitted a brief on behalf of more than 370 University of Michigan graduate student research assistants asking the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to stand by its earlier ruling and reject a call for a unionization vote of such students. A new campus organization, “Students Against GSRA Unionization,” is the legal foundation’s latest client in the case. In July, the MCLF filed the original motion opposing the election on behalf of U-M graduate research assistant Melinda Day.
MERC upheld the law in September by rejecting a petition from the Graduate Employees Organization to conduct a unionization election on the U-M campus. The GEO responded with a motion for reconsideration seeking to overturn the September decision.
“Almost all of the arguments presented by the union were directly addressed and rejected by MERC 30 years ago — the union has not shown a change in the law or a material change in the facts that should lead to a different result” said MCLF Director Patrick Wright. “Concerns expressed by the U-M deans coupled with the membership numbers that the Students Against GSRA Unionization garnered in a short time indicate how broadly this compulsory unionization attempt is opposed.”
In a June 24 letter to Provost Philip Hanlon, 19 of 20 U-M deans wrote to express their “deep and collective concern about the potential negative impacts that would result from unionization of the University’s graduate student research assistants.”
Adam Duzik, president of Students Against GSRA Unionization and a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the school of Materials Science and Engineering at U-M, said he and other research assistants were troubled that they could be forced into a labor union. “A group of us got together and decided the union was not in our best interest and we decided to stand up against it,” he said.
MERC is likely to consider the issue at its Nov. 8 regular meeting.
For more information about the case, visit www.mackinac.org/15467.