Administrators Anticipate Meeting With Grad Student Union Effort

Members of the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers will meet with University officials within the next 10 days—their first meeting since the National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling on graduate student unionization.

Last month, the NLRB overturned precedent to classify graduate and undergraduate teaching fellows and research assistants as employees with collective bargaining rights, a ruling that requires Harvard to legally recognize an elected graduate student union. The change in labor law moves the issue of unionization into the hands of Harvard’s central administration, rather than the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where activists have been pushing for unionization over the past year.

Director of Harvard’s Office of Labor and Employee Relations Paul R. Curran invited the HGSU-UAW spokesperson to a meeting last week, according to GSAS dean for administration and finance Allen Aloise.

“Because now we’re in a labor and employment issue potentially, the Labor and Employee Relations Office has the lead, like they do with all union negotiations at Harvard,” Aloise said.

Aloise said that he will be attending the upcoming meeting, given the issue’s connection to GSAS and his involvement.

“The intention is to open a channel for dialogue, get to know each other, talk a little bit about what the next steps might be with respect to unionization for students on campus,” Aloise added.

Members of the HGSU-UAW said they are also eager for the discussion with administrators.

“We look forward to talking with the administration about having a free and fair union election, absent of influence from our employer,” HGSU-UAW spokesperson and Ph.D. student Jack M. Nicoludis wrote in an email.

An election, in which employees will vote whether to authorize the HGSU-UAW as their union, is on the horizon. The group has repeatedly called for Harvard to remain neutral as the election process moves forward.

—Staff writer Leah S. Yared can be reached at leah.yared@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @Leah_Yared.

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