Labor, Michigan — March 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Conservative think tank Mackinac Center FOIAs labor faculty at 3 major Michigan universities


Talking Points Memo has an exclusive report detailing sweeping Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to three of the biggest universities in Michigan. The universities involved are Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.

The Mackinac Center For Public Policy, based in Midland, Mich., submitted the FOIA requests last Friday and Monday to the Labor Studies Center at the University of Michigan and the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues at Wayne State University. A third FOIA was directed to Michigan State University, which has a School of Human Resources & Labor Relations.

The requests specifically seek emails from all labor studies faculty at each school.

These faculty members are being asked to provide all emails that mention:

  • Scott Walker
  • Wisconsin
  • Madison
  • Maddow
  • Any other emails dealing with the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin

The FOIA request sent to Univ. of Michigan can be seen HERE.

This is a stunning action to take, particularly on the heels of the Wisconsin Republican Party filing a similar request against Professor William Cronon at the University of Wisconsin. A professor quoted in the TPM piece describes it as “going after folks they don’t agree with”.

The FOIA requests are unprecedented.

Marick Masters, director of the labor studies program at Wayne State and also subject to a Mackinac Center FOIA, says he’s never seen anything like it.

“I’ve been an educator since early 1980s and I’ve never had a FOIA request,” he said. Masters declined to speculate on the nature of the request, saying only that “everyone is entitled to file a FOIA request” and that he’s forwarded the request to the university’s general counsel, who’ll decide if and how to comply with it.

Intimidation of college professors by conservatives appears to be the latest tactic in their arsenal to destroy unions in existence today and roll back all gains made through collective bargaining in the past. Ensuring that future workers and managers are not sympathetic toward labor unions is the final step in ensuring their demise.

Union busting is disgusting.

I’m just sayin’…