Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

State agency orders hearing on status of GSRAs

The question of whether graduate student research assistants are U-M employees under state labor law now will go to a hearing before a state administrative law judge.

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to order a hearing. In September MERC dismissed a petition to unionize GSRAs. Tuesday's decision came after MERC was asked to reconsider that decision by the Graduate Employees' Organization, the union that hopes to represent GSRAs.

MERC also determined that neither state Attorney General Bill Schuette nor the Students Against GSRA Unionization would be allowed to become a party to the proceedings.

The university's position was articulated May 19 when the Board of Regents voted 6-2 to approve the following resolution:

"Consistent with the University of Michigan's proud history of strong positive and mutually productive labor relations, the Board of Regents supports the rights of university Graduate Student Research Assistants, whom we recognize as employees, to determine for themselves whether they choose to organize."

It is not yet known when a hearing will be scheduled.