Democracy is Freedom of Choice

In the Fall of 2015, Harvard University President Drew Faust spoke out against our union. Since then, the administration released a memo to all faculty encouraging them to remind us of the disadvantages of having a union.

Having a union is an important personal decision for each of us. When our employer attempts to interfere in our democratic free choice to form a union, by using their faculty to persuade workers or implying threats, they are hurting the nature of democracy.

We urge the administration to cease interfering in our democratic choice to form a union. If you support our campaign, or just believe in the democratic process, please sign our petition below. Your support will be used publicly once our goal is reached.

Dear President Faust:

As elected and community leaders of Greater Boston and Massachusetts, we write to urge Harvard University to recognize the right of its graduate research and teaching assistants (RAs, TFs and TAs) to choose collective bargaining.

These employees play a critical role in providing quality teaching and research at Harvard.  By teaching thousands of undergraduates and conducting innovative research that helps bring roughly $819 million in grants and contracts to the University each year, RAs and TAs make Harvard a world leader academically and make it an important economic engine in Cambridge and Greater Boston.

With a majority of the workers having chosen HGSU-UAW as their union, they join RAs and TAs at New York University, who now have a collective bargaining agreement that has made NYU a more competitive, accessible and inclusive institution, as well as RAs and TAs at more than 60 major public university campuses who have engaged in collective bargaining for decades including at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston and Lowell campuses.

Out of respect for the important work RAs and TAs provide at Harvard and for the democratic process, we urge the Harvard administration to recognize their right to collective bargaining and publicly commit to the following:

  • Harvard will refrain from any legal or other actions that would delay graduate employees’ right to choose collective bargaining;
  • Harvard will ensure a free and fair election on unionization by refraining from any effort to influence RAs and TAs in their decision to vote yes or no for HGSU-UAW; and
  • Harvard will commence good-faith negotiations for a contract immediately upon confirmation of a majority vote by RAs and TAs in favor of HGSU-UAW as their union.
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