Those opposing the unionization of University of Michigan graduate student research assistants will be left out in the cold. That's the gist of a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling.
Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation had separately requested to be party to a hearing on the potential unionization issue. Without their side of the argument being represented, the hearing in the question will only involve entities that favor the unionization.
MCLF had filed an intervention request on behalf of a group of some 370-plus graduate student research assistants who opposed unionization. Now, however, those students will apparently not be represented in the process.
“The Court of Appeals order is unfortunate in that it means it could be months or years before the graduate students are afforded their due process rights to argue that they are not public employees,” said MCLF Director Patrick Wright.
The hearing, set for Feb. 1, will be before an administrative judge. But only the U-M Board of Regents and the Graduate Employees Organization have been granted party status. Both support the same side of the issue.
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission assigned case to an administrative judge in November while at the same time ruling against allowing MCLF to intervene in the case on behalf of students who oppose the unionization.
MCLF appealed the MERC decision to the Court of Appeals, as did the state attorney general's office. But in its ruling this week, the Court of Appeals basically said that neither the MCLF nor the AG have standing to join the case.
In April 2011, the GEO petitioned MERC to allow the GEO to begin unionization process. In May, U-M Board of Regents voted 6-2 to support the idea.
MERC in 1981 determined that graduate student research assistants at U-M were not public employees and therefore not subject to unionization.