Students who teach end strike at University of Michigan

Michigan News

FILE – This April 7, 2017 file photo, shows Burton Tower on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Mich. Several former patients have alleged that Robert E. Anderson, a late University of Michigan physician, sexually abused them during exams going back decades, prompting the Ann Arbor school to ask others with information to come forward, officials said Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hunter Dyke/Ann Arbor News via AP, File)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Graduate students who teach at the University of Michigan returned to classes Thursday after voting to end a nine-day strike.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents about 2,000 students who teach or assist, says it achieved “critical progress” on childcare options during the coronavirus pandemic, testing protocols and concerns about campus police operations.

The union says the vote Wednesday was 1,074-239, ending a strike that began Sept. 8.

The deal ends legal action taken by the university, which sued this week to try to end the strike.

“By withholding our labor, building coalitions, and making our power impossible to ignore, we forced the university to give us an offer with substantive progress toward a safe and just campus,” the union said.

The university said the strike disrupted many online undergraduate classes taught by graduate students.

Original:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Graduate students who teach classes were on strike Tuesday at the University of Michigan over in-person instruction during the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

The strikers chanted and held umbrellas while marching in the rain. “I do not want my students and colleagues to get a chronic illness because this university decided it was most important to collect tuition,” Surabhi Balachander wrote on Twitter.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents more than 1,000 instructors, has called for a four-day strike.

Most classes at the University of Michigan have shifted to online. But the union says the university isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It robust plans for testing, contact tracing, and campus safety. It wants plans for testing and contact tracing, allowing graduate employees to work remotely and a more flexible childcare subsidy.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the strike is illegal under state law and the union contract, and the university plans to continue classes in the event of a strike.

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