- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A federal judge in Flint has struck down a Michigan law that blocked graduate student research assistants from joining a union at public universities.

The 2012 law was declared unconstitutional Wednesday for unusual reasons. Judge Mark Goldsmith says provisions of the law related to graduate students were in a bill that was originally drafted to address powers of emergency managers.

Goldsmith says the law violates the Michigan Constitution’s “change of purpose” clause.

University of Michigan graduate research assistants have attempted to unionize, but that effort was chilled by the law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. The university’s board of regents board supports the students.

In 1981, state labor regulators said graduate research assistants aren’t public employees. Union advocates want the matter reopened.

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