Judge declines to order striking University of Michigan graduate student employees back to work

A judge decided not to order striking University of Michigan graduate student workers back in front of the students they teach despite on Tuesday the university going to court to force them back.

Graduate student workers walked out of the classroom Wednesday morning and onto the picket line over wages. Negotiations had been going on for months.

"It confirms what we’ve been saying, that what the university was trying to do is an overreach," said Amir Fleischmann the chair of the GEO Contract Committee & member of the Bargaining Team.

An evidentiary hearing is now scheduled for next week. The university sees it as an opportunity.

"We’ll be prepared for that hearing. Just as a reminder, this strike violates state law, violates the terms of the GEO contract, and we’re eager to get it resolved," said Rick Fitzgerald, with U of M. "Some of their demands or their expectations are outside the scope of this contract. We cannot bargain things that have an effect on the entire university community with one bargaining unit."

Since November, the university and the union have been in talks over demands by these student workers for a living wage and other benefits.

"The university continues to offer us a raise that’s below the rate of inflation, below what the provost gets, and I have members struggling to make rent," Fleischmann said. "We’re hoping the university will come to its senses and give us a contract that we can live with."

Both students and the school are hoping to reach an agreement soon.