U-Michigan sues over strike by graduate students who teach

Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is suing to stop a strike by graduate-student instructors after they voted to extend their walkout.

“Going to the court was our only choice after learning the strike would continue. We’d much rather our classes be in session while we work out our differences,” President Mark Schlissel said.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Washtenaw County court, seeks an injunction that would stop the strike by the Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents 2,000 graduate-student instructors and graduate-student assistants. The university said a strike is illegal under the contract.

The strike began Sept. 8. Union members said the university isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also wants the campus police budget cut by 50% and an end to cooperation with Ann Arbor police, among other demands.

“Shame on the University of Michigan for using their immense resources to bully their graduate workers out of striking instead of using those same resources to create a safe and just campus for all,” the union said.

Approximately 90% of all undergraduate students are enrolled in at least one course that is led wholly or partly by a graduate student, the university said.

“The issues raised are very important and we are committed to addressing them, but we can’t do it at the expense of our students’ education,” Schlissel said.

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