The Hutchison Act of 1947 in Michigan provided mediation procedures and established penalties for illegal strikes for public employees. The Public Employee Relations Act of 1965 in Michigan provided for collective bargaining and also prohibited strikes, but provided no strike penalties. Following this legislation in 1965, union activity began at a significant level.
The history of employee union contracts began with the first contract negotiated with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) for a small number of turbine and boiler operators and operating engineers, effective September 13, 1968. In rapid succession, contracts were negotiated with the Washtenaw County Local Building Trades Board of Directors (WCLBTBD) for skilled tradesmen effective October 4, 1968, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees for a large group of service Page 35and maintenance workers on November 15, 1968. On November 13, 1973, the first contract was negotiated with the House Officers Association (HOA), for medical interns and residents at the Medical Center. After lengthy discussions and hearings, a contract was negotiated on March 14, 1975, with the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) representing a large number of graduate student assistants, research assistants, and teaching assistants. A contract for clerical workers was negotiated on August 21, 1975, with the United Auto Workers (UAW), which was terminated August 31, 1976, after a decertification election of the clerical employees. The newest contract was negotiated on April 9, 1976, after several attempts in recent years, with the University of Michigan Nurses Association (UMNA) for nonsupervisory registered nurses, most of whom work at the University Hospital. Work stoppages of short duration by skilled tradesmen and service workers have occurred occasionally. Fortunately, these have not resulted in major impacts on University operations.
Additional information follows in the detailed descriptions of each union group history: