University of Michigan Regents show continued support of GSRA's right to unionize
The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted 5-3 Monday to support a lawsuit filed by House Democrats contending that Republicans acted unconstitutionally in March when they passed a bill banning graduate researchers from unionizing and put it into immediate effect.
Graduate Students Research Assistants have been fighting for unionization for a year, but in early March House Republicans passed a measure rendering unionization illegal. While most bills have a 90-day waiting period before going to the governor's desk, the Republicans used a legislative maneuver to put the bill into effect immediately.
The immediate effect maneuver must be passed by two-thirds of House legislators. House Democrats sued the Republicans last week, saying that Republicans did not count votes properly to ensure a two-thirds majority.
During a special session Monday, regents voted to submit a brief in support of the Democrats' lawsuit, filed in Ingham County Circuit Court. A judge has granted a temporary restraining order on the bill and will review the Democrats' case in the coming weeks.
"The rules of due process were not followed," said Laurence B. Deitch, a Democratic regent.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
"We shouldn’t be involved in legislative procedural issues," Newman said.
Richner added: "It's unprecedented and I think it will have long-term implications that we may regret. I think that this case goes well beyond (the GSRA unionization) issue and I don't think we should be taking a position."
Suellyn Scarnecchia, U-M's chief lawyer, said the action was unusual.
Regent Olivia P.Maynard, who voted in with regents in May 2011 to allow GSRAs to vote for a union, was the sole Democrat to vote against the motion.
"I've determined that it does no good," she said of intervening.