Skip to comments.Michigan Governor Signs Bill Reinforcing That Graduate Students Are Students, Not Employees
Posted on 03/15/2012 8:55:50 AM PDT by MichCapCon
Now its the law graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) are not public employees.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that specifies that GSRAs arent public employees at the universities where they study and therefore are not eligible to be unionized.
While graduate student research assistants provide valuable efforts for universities, they are students first and foremost, Snyder said in a release. Considering them to be public employees with union representation would alter the nature of the critical relationship between students and teachers, and risk the educational mission of universities.
The bill (House Bill 4246) codifies a Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) position that dated back to 1981. Under that long-held position, GSRAs had been considered students. However, it was believed the legislation was needed to head-off a possible reversal of the 31-year-old MERC position.
A group of graduate student research assistants at the University of Michigan were pressing for MERC to rule that they were employees. Whats more, it appeared that MERC (a three-member panel with a 2-1 Democratic majority) was poised to do just that. MERC had recently kept those advocating that GSRAs were students, not employees, out of hearings about the possible policy change.
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation was one of the entities MERC kept out of the hearings. The other was the office of the Michigan Attorney General.
The bill the governor signed clarifies what we have known for a long time, said Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. Graduate student research assistants are not public employees. They should not have their financial aid taken away as dues.
In spite of the passage of House Bill 4246 and it being signed into law, the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), the group that was attempting to unionize the GSRAs, has apparently not given up. The GEO has filed a motion with MERC to still try and get GSRAs recognized as being eligible to be considered public employees and therefore subject to unionization.
How many of these types of things have been passed under the radar over the years, with nobody giving it a second thought?
I wonder if they make minimum wage?
OK, recognize them as “eligible” and make it voluntary.
Let the students decide as individuals - problem fixed!
I'm curious to see what happens when they strike.
When a private company enters negotiations with a union - we all know they have their own best interest at heart and will negotiate in good faith - and if they give too much to the unions - it is only their own profit margin/survivability as a company they are putting at risk.
When an elected representative enters negotiations with a union - one that supported their election - they are usually willing to give away as much of the taxpayers money as they think they can get away with.
But I DO find it amusing that as the Government loads up the private sector with MORE AND MORE ludicrous demands for benefits for full time employees - they make themselves exempt.
Do they wonder why so many companies hire temporary or part time employees these days?