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MSU Board of Trustees makes changes to collective bargaining process

Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 20, 2021

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University's Board of Trustees is changing the university's collective bargaining process, but not everyone supports the change.

A resolution approved by the board on Friday will change the way employees can form unions on campus. It will require the university and anyone in a supervisory role to remain neutral on the issue of union representation, accept the creation of bargaining units as long as they're reasonable and chang the way union votes are taken.

"We will be doing something called a card check," Board Chair Dianne Byrum said during the meeting.

Under a card check system, employees would simply sign authorization cards saying whether they want a union. Once a majority of the workers in a bargaining unit sign on, MSU would recognize the union. Byrum explained that implementing the card check will take less time.

"Instead of years, you can probably get it done in a matter of a year," she said. "So under the card check, you would have cards and petitions that an employee would sign and that would in fact, be their vote for a union."

Most MSU employees are already represented by unions, though tenure-system professors are not.

While the board's Democratic majority favored the new process because it streamlines the union process and gives employees a voice, Republican board members disagreed with the new process.

Board Vice Chair Dan Kelly said that the resolution could cause several problems and favors some unions over the others.

"We could end up with several individual groups and union groups, all of which this university has to negotiate with, every group, groups as small as 20 or 25 employees makes no sense," he said.

Byrum said during the meeting that other universities have implemented the card check approach.

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