After months of legal wrangling, the votes are in. Secretaries at Grand Rapids Community College have chosen to decertify the Michigan Education Association local and form their own union. Out of 95 members, 40 voted in favor of the new union, the Alliance of Professional Support Staff, while 28 voted to stay with the MEA and 3 chose no union.

“We are free,” said election organizer, Penni Weniger.

This is the second time in 15 months that a group of employees at a state college or university has broken ranks with the MEA. The first defection involved over 300 technology and clerical workers at Grand Valley State University who voted overwhelmingly to decertify the MEA and form their own arbitration group.

Time was of the essence in the GRCC case. The group’s contract is set to expire in June and members were worried they would be locked into another three-year deal with the MEA if a decertification election was not allowed to happen in a timely manner.

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The effort to decertify the state’s largest school employee union began in August. A group of workers in the bargaining unit notified the Michigan Employment Relations Commission that it wanted to hold an election, but the MEA held up the process by filing an unfair labor practice complaint against the college, demanding the election be canceled. Several weeks ago, the MEA dropped the complaint.

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MEA Drops Attempt to Stop Vote on Decertification

Union Tries to Block Election that Would Decertify It

University Staff Breaks Away From Michigan Education Association