For Immediate Release
November 8, 2017

  Harvard Graduate Student Workers to Join 13,000 Grad Workers At Five Universities for Rally on Nov. 8  

One year after the presidential election, Harvard’s student workers will rally and deliver a petition – signed by over 2,500 people – calling on Harvard administrators to drop their appeal to Trump’s National Labor Relations Board and allow a new, fair union election.


Cambridge, MA – On November 8, Harvard student workers will stand in solidarity with their colleagues at Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern and Columbia in their bid to speak up and organize for their rights to a fair democratic process. They will also deliver a petition asking Harvard’s administrators to drop their appeal to President Donald Trump’s appointees on the National Labor Relations Board, and respect their right to a union election.

Much has changed in the last year: new attacks on immigrants, slashes to affordable healthcare, new attacks on vulnerable students, rollbacks of critical protections for transgender students and survivors of sexual violence, tax changes that could cost student workers thousands, and new, fiercely anti-worker appointees to the federal NLRB. Harvard student workers continue to insist on having a voice in the decision-making processes that affect immigration rights, access to affordable healthcare, Title IX protections, and changes to wages and benefits.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 8 at 2pm.
WHERE: In front of the John Harvard Statue on campus.
WHO: Harvard’s student employees, community leaders.
WHY: To ask the administration to stop hiding behind the Trump administration and respect our democratic right to an election.

“As a student worker at Harvard, I am asking administrators to respect our choice to form a union so we may try to improve our working conditions,” said Justin Bloesch. “Petitioning Donald Trump’s NLRB to disregard rules protecting fair union elections could be disastrous for all workers and for workplace democracy. At a time when so many of the basic protections Americans take for granted are in jeopardy, we ask that Harvard listen to its student workers instead of appealing to the anti-democratic forces at work within the Trump Administration.”


On July 7, the Regional Director of the NLRB ruled that Harvard University administration violated the Excelsior Rule prior to a December, 2016 unionization vote. The Excelsior Rule is a cornerstone of democratic workplace protections that requires employers to provide complete and accurate lists of all workers to unions petitioning for elections. To avoid a fair election, Harvard administration intends to appeal to the federal NLRB to weaken requirements for complete and accurate lists.

As the Regional Director writes, “In essence, the Employer seeks to change established Board law.” This rule, which has been upheld by the NLRB for decades, ensures that all voters have access to information from both the employer and the union so that they can make an informed vote. Harvard’s appeal would undermine these democratic protections not just at Harvard, but across the entire country.

The November 8th demonstrations are part of a growing national movement of graduate workers who are fighting back against racist and sexist federal policies and the university administrators who are refusing to bargain with their unions for progress on these issues. Many see unionizing as a better way to protect their rights: unions offer real recourse for their members in the event of sexual harassment or abuse, and unions offer a strong political voice in a climate of rising nationalism. To view a complete list of rally times and locations, click here.