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University of Michigan seeks restraining order to end graduate employee strike

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ANN ARBOR, MI – As the University of Michigan Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) voted to extend its strike for “a safe and just campus” for an additional five days, the university is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the union strike.

UM is asking the Washtenaw County Circuit Court to order striking members of the GEO to return to work. The union represents about 2,000 graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants.

In the court filing, UM noted that, “Not only are GEO’s members interfering in the university’s mission to educate students by unlawfully withholding their labor, they are encouraging impressionable undergraduate students, over whom they exercise significant authority, to forego their education.”

The strike began Tuesday, Sept. 8, as graduate students marched and chanted at five different locations on UM’s campus. It has gained the support of undergraduate students; graduate student organizations from other colleges, such as Harvard and Western Michigan University; and even some construction workers on UM’s campus who picketed with them in solidarity.

UM has since submitted an offer to GEO, but that offer was rejected.

In a news release, Schlissel said UM can no longer allow the “profound disruption to the education we’ve promised our undergraduate students” in authorizing the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

“We want our great classes to continue, our students to learn without interference and we don’t want anyone to feel threatened simply for wanting to go to class,” said Schlissel in a video to the campus community. “Going to the court was our only choice after learning the strike would continue. We’d much rather our classes be in session while we work out our differences.”

In the release, Schlissel said UM welcomes the opportunity to discuss the issues GEO has raised and noted the university’s