Graduate Students Decide To Work for Recognition
The Harvard Graduate Student and Teaching Fellow Union will seek recognition by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as the sole bargaining agent for teaching fellows and other graduate students in the University's employ.
The Union steering committee voted last night to make a collection of pledges from teaching fellows authorizing the Union to act as their bargaining representative--the first step in gaining NLRB recognition.
The collection will be the Union's major activity during the three weeks school is in session before the next Union meeting on April 19.
The committee also decided to continue its membership drive among all graduate students, both teachers and non-teachers. Union membership, which includes students who have paid dues or signed strike pledges, stands at over 700.
Union recognition would put the legal obligation on the University to respond to Union proposals, to give the Union access to information which would allow it to make intelligent bargaining proposals, and to explicitly document all of its own proposals.
The Union must collect authorization in order to file a petition for recognition. Since Harvard has no more than 1200 teaching fellows, approximately 400 pledges would be needed.
After the pledges are filed, the NLRB organizes an election in which voters choose which one of one or more unions they want to represent them. A simple majority of the ballots cast is all that is needed for the Union to be recognized.
Once recognized, the union remains the sole bargaining agent for one year or, if a contract is successfully negotiated in the interim, for as long as the contract remains in effect.