Education, Labor — February 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm

BREAKING: Federal court rules that Republican law banning graduate student unions in Michigan is unconstitutional


Score one for the good guys

Today a United States District Court ruled that Republican legislation signed into law by Governor Snyder in March of 2012 is unconstitutional. The ruling says the law prohibiting Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRA) from forming labor organizations was invalid because it was adopted in violation of the Michigan Constitution. The decision will open the door for GSRAs in the State of Michigan to decide if they wish to be represented by a union.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan President David Hecker released a statement saying, “This is yet another example of Governor Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature ignoring the rules to advance their own anti-worker political ideology.”

“We’re gratified the judge ruled that the law targeting GSRAs’ rights to organize is unconstitutional. We still firmly believe that GSRAs are workers entitled to protections under the law, including the right to have a union should they decide to organize,” said Andrea Jokisaari, a GSRA in the Materials Science and Engineering Department and the Chair of GEO’s GSRA Organizing Committee.

The Republican law was enacted to stop an election by Graduate Student Research Assistants at the University of Michigan. They amended the legislation that became Public Act 45 of 2012 to say that GSRAs are not employees and, therefore, not covered by the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act. The court held in their decision today that the manner in which the law was rushed through the Michigan Legislature violated the “title-object” clause of the Michigan Constitution, which forbids legislation which includes numerous disparate matters. According to opponents of the law, the proposal that became PA 45 was never intended to deal with GSRA since the bill’s original intent related to the powers of an Emergency Manager.

The suit that produced this result was filed by the AFT-affiliated Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) and its member Christie Toth. GEO was joined in the litigation by the Regents of the University of Michigan who intervened and supported the arguments of GEO.

  • onewhogetsit

    Next up, KILL RIGHT TO WORK (for less)

  • Patti

    Great News.

  • judyms9

    Glad the decision pointed out the ineptness/underhandedness–take your pick–of the legislature in ignoring the title-object clause of the MI Constitution. Dem candidates running this year need to point this out. It’s emblematic of the GOP’s commando attacks on the rights of MI citizens.
    Thanks for getting the word out. It’s a better day.

  • rithipol

    yes, finally! happy to see some justice in MI, even if i’m no longer a grad student at U-M.

  • Matthew Allison

    And so Republicans are bad guys and democrats are good guys??? Wow, no wonder this country is separated and will never be together as a whole…I hate this country and it’s media and all of those whom support the two party paradox!

    • gene hayhoe

      I’m reminded of Antony Sutton and ‘managed conflict.’

    • gene hayhoe

      They are 2 subsets of the same group, if you ask me, Matthew.

  • Matthew Allison

    The more I think about this the more I want to kill any of those whom support the democratic party and even the republican. Kill Hillary, obama, mitt, and even more so the oligarchs whom support these idiots! If you support either side you are simply a fucking idiot! Either a tight ass conservative or a faggot loving liberal! Fuck you both!!!!!!

  • gene hayhoe

    If you really want a mess, have those that think they are ‘above the law’ write and enforce your ‘laws.’