Recent Updates and Events

Petition: Harvard, do not appeal

The deliberations about our election have ended, and the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board has decided that Harvard violated the law with an incomplete list and has ordered a new election. In an extraordinary response, Harvard’s administration has announced their intention to appeal this Boston-based decision to the federal NLRB – a move which could weaken requirements nationwide for complete and accurate lists. As the Regional Director writes, “In essence, the Employer seeks to change established Board law.” At a time when so many of the basic protections Americans have taken for granted are in jeopardy, we ask that Harvard not give further power to anti-worker and anti-democratic forces.

The organizing committee has drafted a petition calling on Harvard not to advocate weakening democratic protections in elections across the country just to prevent a fair election on our campus. Sign our petition here and call on Harvard not to appeal the Regional Director’s decision.

Support MIT worker’s release from ICE custody 
Earlier in July, Francisco Rodriguez, an SEIU 32BJ union member and worker at MIT, was detained during a routine check-in at the local ICE office, and now faces deportation to El Salvador. Read this article for more details, and sign this petition asking Governor Baker to step in. To get involved in immigration-related organizing for campus-affiliated workers, please join the International Scholars’ Working Group facebook page, or send us an email.
Reminder About Survey of Priorities
Last month, the committee released a survey to answer many of the questions about the benefits of a union, with examples from many other student worker unions across the country. Please take a moment to fill out the survey here and let us know what you would most like to see addressed at Harvard.
ART Petition Update
On July 17th, Harvard announced it will suspend admissions to the A.R.T Institute for the next three years. This decision comes following a January report from the Department of Education, which called out Harvard – alongside brazenly predatory schools like Corinthian, DeVry, and IIT Tech – for burdening its students with loan debt averaging about $78,000 each. Read an op-ed from a current student and sign our petition here

Chart of the Month
Student-employee unionization has become an increasingly common pathway for teaching and research assistants to advocate for their interests through workplace democracy. The UAW International Union represents 40k of around 100k unionized student-workers, including the California system, the UMass system, Columbia, and NYU. By joining together within this larger movement, we can have a voice in improving the working conditions for student workers across the country, who are bargaining for things like improved health care, child care, grievance procedures, and more.

An Organizer’s Bio: 

Why I support my union, HGSU-UAW! 

Sam Moy: 

I’m Sam, a rising 3rd year PhD student in the Health Policy program. I research competition in US health care markets, which as exciting as that sounds really means I spend a lot of time staring at Matlab and Stata on a computer screen. I believe in the graduate student union because I want better protections for student workers when it comes to parental leave policies, fair grievance procedures, and of course, dental insurance.

I also believe that we should strive for the principle of equal pay for equal work. I don’t mean leveling across disciplines, but I mean that within my own program there is significant pay variation for research and teaching positions from one school to the next. I’m in an inter-faculty initiative program meaning that Health Policy students are no strangers to navigating the idiosyncrasies of Harvard’s many departments and schools. Indeed, the interdisciplinary nature of our program is one of its greatest draws, allowing us to learn from a variety of fields as we develop our abilities to research complex questions of policy. But this causes instances in which we are forced to make a difficult trade-off: research and teaching work that better suits our research and professional development or research and teaching work that makes more financial sense. This is a solvable problem. Through our union, we would work to overcome the administrative hurdles of coordinating pay schedules across schools. I came to Harvard because I want to help solve problems and organizing the union to move toward solutions to these problems is just one part of that mission. 


Getting in Touch and Getting Involved

If you would like to get involved in organizing your union this summer, please email us at

Everyone is welcome to attend our general organizing meetings, which are Wednesdays at 2pm. The International Scholars’ Working Group meetings are Wednesdays at 6pm, alternating weekly between Cambridge (Aug 2, 16, 30) and Longwood (Aug 9, 23). If you are interested in attending any meeting and would like more information, please send us an email.


Labor in the News

  • Nurses at the Tufts Medical Center returned to work after a one-day strike followed by a four-day lockout by management. The nurses and management will continue to negotiate proposed changes to pay, staffing, and pensions. Read more here.
  • The NLRB has announced that the dates of the Boston College graduate union election will be September 12-13.
  • Research and teaching assistants at the New School voted 502-2 to be represented by the UAW. The NLRB released the results from the May 3-4 election after denying a request from the New School to review voter eligibility.
  • Two Trump nominees to the National Labor Relations Board passed committee approval and will move forward to the Senate.