MSU Human Resources >> Contracts >> Union Contracts

Union contracts

Collective Bargaining Agreements

Board Resolution on Collective Bargaining 

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the December 17, 2021 board resolution

Expand All

Generally, the resolution means that:

  1. The University (including all supervisors) will not issue any opinions about unionizing, either for or against,
  2. The University will follow the process in the resolution to determine a reasonable bargaining unit, and
  3. The University will voluntarily recognize a bargaining unit if it demonstrates majority support through a “card check” process outlined in the resolution.

A union campaign typically begins with one or more unions reaching out to employees to determine if there is interest in joining a union.  There may be meetings held by the union, information distributed, and other efforts to reach employees. If a union is able to obtain cards signed by at least 30% of a proposed bargaining unit indicating that they want to join the union, they provide the cards to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC).  A “bargaining unit” is a group of employees who share a community of interest.  MERC then verifies the cards, determines whether the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate and if cards are verified and the bargaining unit composition is approved, MERC conducts a secret-ballot election.  If a majority of those in the bargaining unit who choose to vote do so in favor of the unit, the entire unit becomes unionized.  

Alternatively, in campaigns in which a “card check process” (or voluntary recognition process) is used, a union or unions then will approach employees about signing a card, authorizing that union to represent the employee for collective bargaining purposes on mandatory subjects of bargaining of wages, hours and working conditions.  Then, when a majority of employees in a particular unit sign the card, the employer agrees to recognize that union as the bargaining representative of that unit.  There is no election – the card is the employee’s sole voice on the matter. The Board of Trustees resolution states that the University will use the voluntary recognition process.

Once a union has been recognized, the employer is required to bargain over your terms and conditions of employment with your union representative.  That bargaining will result in what is referred to as a “collective bargaining agreement,” which is an agreement between the University and the union that outlines terms and conditions of employment. 

Right to Work Information

For issues regarding union membership, dues payment or Michigan’s Freedom-to-Work law, please see the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Employment Relations website at or contact the department using the information below.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Employment Relations
Cadillac Place
3026 W. Grand Boulevard, Suite 2-750
PO Box 02988
Detroit, MI 48202-2988
Tel: 313-456-3510 Fax: 313-456-3511

Union Addresses