GOP Tax Plan

Last week, students at over 70 schools around the country rallied to protest the GOP’s tax plan. At Harvard, we held a rally and phone bank to contact our representatives. The Senate GOP voted to pass their tax bill last Friday, but the House and Senate bills still need to be reconciled before they can be signed into law. Students at Harvard, including Marena Lin in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Maddy Jennewein in Virology, have written about the potentially devastating effects of the tax plan for graduate students. Join us this week to continue to urge our elected officials to stop the bill and sign this national petition urging Republican leaders to #StopTheGradTax.


On November 9th, more than 250 individuals rallied to call on the Harvard administration to drop its unprecedented appeal to the NLRB before delivering our petition with thousands of signatures. We have yet to receive a response to this petition. Read about the rally here and see photos here.

#SaveTPS and DACA Actions

The Trump administration has decided to end the Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation in 2019 and is expected to do so for a number of other countries in the next few months. This decision affects thousands of families in Massachusetts, including many who are part of the Harvard community. Earlier this month, we phone-banked to #SaveTPS and continue to provide immigration resources to Harvard community members. The Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) is also circulating a petition for the Harvard administration to take more concrete steps in advocating for TPS holders and their loved ones. Please take a moment to read and sign here.

Sexual Harassment in Academia

Academia, like everywhere else, is roiling with sexual harassment allegations. Since the Harvey Weinstein case, numerous complaints against male faculty members have come to light. Read a summary article here and check out coverage of our October Panel on Campus Sexual Violence here. Graduate employees unions are coming together to urge their administrations to take action for better protections.

Winter Travel Resources

For students traveling during the winter recess, please check out our resource guide with important phone numbers and best practices for travel abroad.

Upcoming Events

GOP Tax Plan Phone Banking – December 5-8

The Senate GOP voted to pass their tax bill last Friday. The House and Senate bills must be reconciled before the bill can be sent to President Trump for signing. This is expected to take place before the winter recess in two weeks. We are holding phone-banking sessions phone-banking sessions from Tuesday-Friday to keep the pressure up to defeat this bill and its devastating consequences for higher education.

GSC Resolution – December 6

On Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30 PM, the Graduate Student Council will vote on a resolution to endorse our Drop the Appeal petition. This resolution is similar to one that was recently passed by the Undergraduate Council. Your department representative will be voting on this resolution. To encourage them to attend and vote YES for the resolution, you can email them using this draft email we have put together. Here is a list of the current department representatives.

Boston National Day of Action to #SaveTPS and DACA – December 6

Join us for this National Day of Action  on Wednesday, Dec 6, at Faneuil Hall at 3.30pm in support of immigrant workers and their loved ones on Temporary Protected Status and DACA. This action is part of a coordinated nationwide effort by unions and community organizations to pressure Congress to offer a solution to DACA before winter recess. Message us if you’d like to head over together.

An Organizers Bio: Why I support my union, HGSU-UAW!

I am Laila Smith, a senior at the College, and I’d like to share why I have committed time and energy to HGSU-UAW as a paid and volunteer organizer over the past two years.

Once I heard about the union organizing efforts on campus, it didn’t take much time or thought to realize that I wanted to be involved- my liberal Californian politics naively guided my decision to begin organizing. I wasn’t groomed for this type of work however. Yes, I grew up in California, but I wouldn’t say that I, nor my parents, were politically engaged. In particular, as the daughter of an immigrant mother who grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution and emigrated at the age of 30, I learned non-interventionism from my mother. I understand now that sometimes I mistook her reticence for unawareness, and even used it as an excuse for my own political inactivity at a time when I was taken in by art and artistic institutions that seemed somewhere between apolitical and well-intentioned.

Comparing that time (high school) to now (college), the only tangible difference in my life has been the discovery of a community dedicated to principles of solidarity and action, a difference that has constituted day-to-day social and political engagement and a renewed belief in participatory democracy. Somewhat ironically, what prepared me to organize more than anything else is what I learned from music, even though the jazz institutions I found myself in fostered uncritical cooperation over thoughtful participation. In the same way that I believe in music’s basic premise being active listening toward musically supporting those around you, I believe that, at the most basic level, togetherness and mutual support are politics, and listening is where political solidarity begins. Through organizing with HGSU-UAW, I have found a community where my latent principles now have an outlet and the terms of my life have radically changed.

Labor in the News

  • Labor and legal experts from Harvard Law School on the shutdown of news websites Gothamist and DNAinfo: “That Ricketts can simply shut [them] down in order to avoid sharing any control with his workforce is a troubling reminder of how wildly out of whack the balance of power has become in our country.”
  • Newsroom journalists at the Los Angeles Times publicly announce their union drive: Read why they are organizing here.
  • What Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s warning to workers’ centers could mean for workers rights: “The imposition of onerous new regulations on worker centers would be a serious blow to the increasingly critical and growing role they play…, [which] has taken on added importance as union density declines, workplaces fissure and the percentage of the workforce engaged in contingent work increases.”
In solidarity,

The HGSU-UAW Organizing Committee