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Originally published Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM

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Mich. bill to block grad student unions advances

The Republican-led Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would block unionization efforts by graduate student research assistants at public universities.

The Associated Press

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LANSING, Mich. —

The Republican-led Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would block unionization efforts by graduate student research assistants at public universities.

The measure was passed Wednesday by a 26-12 vote along party lines. The legislation advances to the Republican-led House.

The legislation specifies that graduate student research assistants would not be considered public employees as related to collective bargaining rights.

The measure comes as University of Michigan graduate student research assistants attempt to unionize. That case is pending before an administrative judge after the Michigan Employment Relations Commission last year reaffirmed a 1981 decision that bars research assistants from banding together.

Republicans say the legislation simply puts those decisions into law. Democrats say the proposal undermines collective bargaining rights.

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Senate Bill 971.

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