The Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) is the reason you, as a public employee, have a contract of negotiated wages, hours, terms and working conditions at MSU. This law was passed in 1947 and amended to include public employees in 1965. It was signed into law by Governor George Romney. The primary point of the law was to ensure a fair and consistent process of discipline and allow public employees to bargain collectively. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-act-336-of-1947.pdf
There will be great debate this election season about the right to collectively bargain because Proposal 2 – Protect Working Families – will be on the November 6 ballot. Why should you care about this issue as a professional public employee? Without the right to collectively bargain, the University would be allowed to change your benefits and any of your working conditions anytime at will. The jobs at MSU are good quality of life jobs. APA/MEA work daily to ensure the benefits and rights you have today will also be the rights you have tomorrow. For more information http://protectourjobs.com/.
As a member of APA, you are a public employee. Public employees are at the subject to the Legislature for collective bargaining laws and funding for Michigan State University. The fundamental principal that is provided under a union contract is just cause for discipline. Just cause is a legal standard that determines where discipline is appropriate and requires the University to follow progressive discipline. In a non-unionized setting, employees are at will, which means they can be terminated for any reason as long as it does not violate discrimination laws. As an APA member, you are represented by the Michigan Education Association (MEA), which has the resources to represent you through any job related legal process.
Most people believe they will never be disciplined because they are good employees. Some go as far as to say being in a union does not matter. However, hard-working and conscientious employees run into situations every day that need union representation, and not necessarily on discipline issues. Evaluations, working hours, overtime, or Family Medical Leave are a few of the issues of concern to members.
The mandatory topics that APA/MEA bargains for you are wages, hours and working conditions. That means your health care, your workday, your retirement are all covered. Right now the APA/MEA and other labor organizations on campus are meeting with the University to work on your dental coverage. The goal is to enhance the coverage and access that has not been improved in a very long time.
To see all the aspects of your job that are currently protected by your contract go to http://www.msuapa.org/?page_id=24 or the pdf http://www.msuapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/APA2011-2015.pdf. If you would like a hard copy of the contract, please contact the APA office at (517) 353-4898.