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Group That Sought Professors’ E-Mails Fights Unionization of Graduate Researchers

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which in March undertook a controversial effort to use open-records laws to obtain e-mails sent by labor-studies professors at Michigan public universities, is now seeking to block the unionization of graduate researchers at the University of Michigan. In a complaint filed with the state’s employment-relations commission on behalf of Melinda Day, a graduate research assistant who opposes the unionization effort, the Mackinac Center’s legal foundation argues that the commission had rejected a nearly identical bid to organize graduate assistants at the university in 1981, and that the difference now is that supporters of such a union account for a majority on the university’s Board of Regents.

The group leading the union drive, the Graduate Employees Organization, has issued a statement arguing that  Mackinac is an outside party that does not represent the best interests of students, and that the center’s complaint represents an effort to circumvent the will of the democratically elected regents, who voted to let a union election go forward.

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