Sudden Changes to Healthcare Costs

Last month, without any warning, prescription and dependent health insurance costs increased for many students by up to several hundreds of dollars for the year. These changes have hit student budgets hard at the start of a new school year. Last week, we sent the Deans this letter expressing our concerns over these sudden and expensive changes.

We have also developed a brief survey to understand how these health care changes are affecting student workers and their families. Please take a minute to fill out this survey if you have experienced any changes, no matter how small.
Without a union, we are regularly blindsided with changes in benefits and compensation. Just in the past 6 months, not only was our pay raise halved but health care changes have increased costs for many student workers.

Upcoming Events

  • September 5 – Rally for Immigrant Rights: JoinHarvard College’s Act on a Dream  to rally for immigrant rights and in support of DACA. Learn about undocumented students and workers within our own community and how we can work together to better serve our peers. RSVP here.
  • September 6 and 13 – International Scholars’ Working Group: Join us at 6 pm in William James Hall 601 on 9/6 and at 6pm in TMEC 334 on 9/13  to build solidarity with our international and immigrant community. Rooms to be confirmed. Join our facebook group to stay updated.
  • September 7 – Semester Kickoff Social Hour: Join us at 6pm in Hoffman Faculty Lounge (20 Oxford St, 4th floor) to receive updates on unionization efforts, meet your local organizers, and build community. RSVP here.
  • September 12 – Information Session for Female International Students: Come to meet other female international graduate students and postdocs and hear about their experience adjusting to the culture and academic life in the United States. Please share this event with incoming students in your departments and RSVP here.

An Organizer’s Bio: Why I support my union, HGSU-UAW! 

Nami Mody

Hi! I’m Nami Mody, and I support the union because Harvard is not perfect. To me, the union is a powerful mechanism to help this institution become better – within and outside the realm of pay and benefits.
I became involved after the Trump inauguration, when we focused on pushing the university to create protections and policies for international scholars with whom we work and study with everyday. As a 2nd year Master in Public Policy candidate at Kennedy, it was incredibly difficult to watch discriminatory federal policy be enacted, but an incredibly important experience to see how we were able to influence university policy by joining together with students, faculty and workers from across campus.
We recommended policy the way it should be recommended. We asked affected Harvard students from across the university what they needed and looked to other universities for best practices. With a union, we can ensure this always happens.

Getting in Touch and Getting Involved

If you would like to get involved in organizing your union, 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 and Longwood. If you are interested in coming and would like more information, please send us an email. 

Labor in the News 

  • Former Harvard President, Larry Summers, makes a case for unions here: “They win higher wages, better working conditions and more protection from unjust employer treatment for their members. More broadly they provide crucial support in the political process for broad measures such as Social Security and Medicare, which benefit members and non-members alike.”

  • Boston College student workers vote for their union next week on September 12 and 13 to join the UAW community, and University of Chicago student workers will vote on October 17 and 18 to win union representation.
  • On August 2, one of Trump’s two nominees to the NLRB, Marvin Kaplan, was confirmed by the Senate. They are expected to vote on the second nominee, William Emmanuel, after their August recess.