Local union members may have been the only labor activists celebrating in Michigan over the weekend.
Despite being enraged about Gov. Rick Snyder’s promise to sign right-to-work legislation on Tuesday, more than 1,500 part-time college teachers and graduate teaching assistants were happy to announce the formation of a consolidated union between Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University over the weekend.
After three days of online voting, members ratified a constitution with a 234-13 vote on Friday creating an umbrella union comprising the KVCC-Federation of Teachers, the Professional Instructors Organization (AFT Local 1903) and Teaching Assistants Union, (AFT Local 1729) on Friday. The West Michigan Federation of College Educators (WMFCE) represents 650 part-time instructors at WMU, 550 graduate teaching assistants at WMU and more than 350 part-time instructors at KVCC.
Under the new agreement, each employee unit will retain its own contract and unique identity, with members paying different dues at each union, but the three entities are sharing leadership and resources.