A Hard Bargain, Harvard Crimson, 5/4

“With the NLRB’s vote count, Harvard’s unionization effort entered a new phase. What began as a democratic get out the vote effort has descended into a months-long protracted and procedural legal battle. Increasingly, union organizers have had to stop calling students and start calling their attorneys, while Harvard administrators now make their arguments against unionization in legal briefs to NLRB officials and not in mass emails to students.

In the interim months, some union organizers—who have also turned advocacy efforts to opposing President Donald Trump—are now again gearing up for a large-scale organizing campaign with the possibility of a re-vote.”

Harvard Files Appeal to NLRB Recommendation for Union Re-Vote, Harvard Crimson, 5/4

“Harvard filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board Wednesday to contest a ruling that recommended the University conduct an additional student unionization election.

On April 19, Thomas A. Miller, a hearing officer who oversaw a weeks-long hearing between the two parties, ruled that Harvard had “not substantially complied with the voter list requirements” in the November student unionization election. He recommended that Harvard hold a new vote if the current election does not end in favor of Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Auto Workers.”

NLRB Officer Recommends Re-Vote In Harvard Union Drive, Law 360, 4/20

“The officer sided with the students in a monthslong dispute over a contested November election, agreeing that the school’s failure to provide an accurate list of all eligible voters may have influenced the tally. Students voted down the union by a 184-ballot margin, though more than 300 challenged ballots are uncounted”

Harvard graduate student organizers will get a second crack at forming union, The Boston Globe, 4/20

“In a statement, the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW said the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that “concerns over Harvard’s list of eligible voters” during the election were “valid and could lead to another election.”

 

The statement quoted an excerpt from the NLRB report, which found that Harvard “has not substantially complied with the voter list requirements.” The NLRB recommended that the student group’s “objection be sustained and that, if a revised tally of ballots does not result in the [group] receiving a majority of the valid votes cast, the results of this election be set aside and a new election be directed.”

NLRB Calls for Re-Vote in the Unionization Election, The Harvard Crimson, 4/20

“A National Labor Relations Board official ruled Wednesday that Harvard had “not substantially complied with voter list requirements” in a November student unionization election, recommending that the University conduct another election to determine whether eligible students can form a union.”

Union, University Resolve Portion of Remaining Challenged Ballots, The Harvard Crimson, 4/12

““I explained my role in helping students with their coursework, that this was part of my job description,” S. Gavin Ruedisueli, a Design School teaching assistant, wrote in an emailed statement. “If helping students learn coursework, grading problem sets, and explaining answers to students doesn’t qualify as teaching, I don’t know what does.”

In its post-hearing brief, Harvard wrote Design School teaching assistants provided “an aggrandized explanation of their responsibilities.””

Why the Grad Student Union Election is Still Contested, Harvard Magazine, 3/22

“A National Labor Relations Board hearing that could determine the fate of Harvard’s student unionization election ended Friday, though the body may not make a final decision on the case until next month.

While the weeks-long hearing has ended, both the University and unionization effort have until April 3 to submit post-hearing briefs to the NLRB. The NLRB will issue a decision on the issues at play in the hearing—including objections filed by both parties and whether or not to count 313 challenged ballots—sometime after it has received the briefs. The body could ultimately call for a re-vote.”

Harvard Graduate Student Union’s Objections Go to the Foundations of Free Elections, The Harvard Law Record 

“Universities are complex, bureaucratic entities — though often not more so than big private corporations. Still, they will entail some forms of employment not found in other industries. Given these potential variations, it is all the more imperative not to allow the existing state of university payroll systems to dictate fairness but, instead, to ensure that universities adhere to the standards of fair union elections as established by decades of precedent.”

Student Unionization Hearing Ends, The Harvard Crimson, 3/21

“A National Labor Relations Board hearing that could determine the fate of Harvard’s student unionization election ended Friday, though the body may not make a final decision on the case until next month.

While the weeks-long hearing has ended, both the University and unionization effort have until April 3 to submit post-hearing briefs to the NLRB. The NLRB will issue a decision on the issues at play in the hearing—including objections filed by both parties and whether or not to count 313 challenged ballots—sometime after it has received the briefs. The body could ultimately call for a re-vote.”

As Harvard Hearings Continue, Yale Departments UnionizeThe Harvard Crimson, 3/9

“When Harvard students organized a unionization effort, they took an ambitious tack: form one union for all of the University’s thousands of eligible graduate students and undergraduate teaching assistants.

As that singular effort, which formally began in 2015, has stalled in the face of vote count delays and now an National Labor Relations Board hearing that could decide its ultimate fate, a parallel effort at Yale has progressed through a more piecemeal approach. Union organizers at Yale instead opted to try and form nine individual departmental unions.”

Harvard’s Graduate Students Union Versus the Trappings of Success. The Brooklyn Rail, 3/1

“There was a lot of misinformation that got thrown around those last couple of weeks,” says HGSU organizer Abhinav Reddy, a Masters student in computational biology and quantitative genetics. “A lot of it was trying to bring up uncertainty and fear—in a process that’s normal and healthy and part of so many American people’s lives.”

Such tactics are common among anti-unionists across campuses: administrations regularly argue against hurting the student-university relationship in similar terms. Harvard, though, was notable for the volume of anti-union rhetoric among its graduate students.”

Harvard Student Unionization: What’s at Stake. The Harvard Crimson, 2/22

“[Harvard’s student unionization effort is going to an NLRB hearing today. Here’s a guide to who’s involved, what’s happened so far, and what’s at stake.”

NLRB to Consider Election Objections in Feb 22. HearingThe Harvard Crimson, 2/14

“Because the Employer’s failure to substantially comply with the Excelsior requirements could have affected the outcome of the election, the direction of a second election is warranted,” lawyers representing the union wrote.'”

Harvard Moves to Dismiss Objection to Unionization Election, The Harvard Crimson, 1/19

“The union effort organizers charge that the November election, which currently indicates that more students oppose unionization than support it, should be invalidated and are calling for a re-vote. The NLRB will decide whether to consider the union effort’s objections and the University’s response prior to Feb. 21, according to NLRB deputy regional attorney Robert P. Redbord.

In its motion to dismiss the union’s objection, the University asserted that it had generated a list of eligible voters—known as an Excelsior list—that was accurate. “

Students Puzzle Over ‘Surprising’ Unionization Vote Count, The Harvard Crimson, 1/17

“For many students on both sides of the unionization question, this initial vote count and the stalled progress of the unionization effort is surprising. Between the unionization effort’s campaign to win votes, Harvard’s initiatives to oppose unionization, and divisions between graduate students in the sciences and engineering and graduate students in the humanities, students say a variety of factors contributed to the unexpected outcome.”

Graduate Student Union, Continued. Harvard Magazine, 1/13

“After more than a month of delay, the results of the balloting in November were inconclusive: 1,456 students had voted against a union while 1,272 voted in favor—but that margin is smaller than the number of ballots (314) that remain under challenge because the University and student organizers disagree over whether they were cast by eligible voters. To resolve the challenges, the NLRB will begin hearings on February 21, a process that could delay the final outcome indefinitely. “

Grad students say Harvard hindered unionization voteBoston.com, 12/30

“The group says Harvard administrators left hundreds of students off a list of eligible voters, causing confusion about who was allowed to vote. It also says Harvard used students’ preferred names, leading to problems for international students with different legal names on identification documents.”

Harvard Student Unionization Vote Remains Too Close To Call, The Harvard Crimson, 12/23

“Thousands of eligible graduate and undergraduate teaching and research assistants voted in the historic Nov. 16 and 17 election—the first union election on a private university campus since the August NLRB decision recognized these students as workers under the law.

About 1,200 ballots were challenged during the election, delaying the vote count for several weeks. University officials and graduate student organizers have been sifting through those ballots one by one to determine eligibility, and had worked through about 900 thus far.”

At Harvard, Union Organizing In The Ivory Tower, WGBH News, 11/15

“Harvard University will be the first school to vote on a graduate student union following the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling in August, which determined that students who are research and teaching assistants at private universities do have the right to unionize.”

HLS Student Workers: Vote Yes to Unionization, The Harvard Law Record, 11/2

“Forming a union like HGSU-UAW will help give us the power not only to win improved pay and benefits but also to take on issues that can affect everyone at the university, such as the overwork, racism, and sexual harassment that far too often become part of employment relationships. These are issues any student worker could face, whether they work in a chemistry lab or as a research assistant here at HLS. Though student employees in different Harvard schools do varying types of work on a day-to-day basis, our similarities outweigh our differences. The NLRB defined our community of interest as teaching and research employees across the university. No matter what specific school or position, all members of HGSU-UAW are engaged in the advancement of knowledge, either through the pursuit of original research for faculty, the teaching of other students, or both.  We believe that a union will improve working conditions in ways large and small for student employees across the Harvard community and that these improvements will in turn improve the quality of teaching and research at Harvard.”

Harvard Reaches Formal Agreement with Graduate Student Union Effort, Schedules Union Election, The Harvard Crimson, 10/19

“Harvard graduate students moved one step closer to unionizing after reaching an agreement with the University to hold an election on unionization next month, marking the first formal arrangement between the two parties.”