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Harvard Law School Academic Workers Vote 62-3 To Unionize

The Harvard Academic Workers hold voting in the Science Center Wednesday and Thursday. Harvard Law School clinical workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize this week.
The Harvard Academic Workers hold voting in the Science Center Wednesday and Thursday. Harvard Law School clinical workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize this week. By Julian J. Giordano
By Aran Sonnad-Joshi and Sheerea X. Yu, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Law School clinical workers voted 62-3 on Wednesday in favor of unionizing under Harvard Academic Workers-United Auto Workers.

Out of 96 eligible voters in the unit, 81 percent showed up to the polls at Roscoe Pound Hall, despite the rainy weather.

After the votes were certified with the National Labor Relations Board Wednesday evening, HAW-UAW Clinical can move forward in negotiations with Harvard.

In addition to the 65 official votes cast, 13 workers also voted under challenge.

According to Rebecca Greening, an organizer for the HLS clinical unit and a lecturer at the Law School, the challenge votes came from those in “alleged supervisory roles,” and their eligibility for representation under HAW-UAW is disputed by Harvard.

If the number of challenge votes had the potential to change the outcome of the vote, the unit would have had to re-bargain with Harvard over their inclusion. Now, the voters’ inclusion status will be determined as part of the union’s bargaining process.

HAW-UAW Clinical’s larger sister unit, which encompasses 3,100 non-tenure-track faculty across three of Harvard’s schools, will report its election results after polls close Thursday evening.

Greening said she was “really happy that the turnout was strong.”

“We knew we had strong support based on our organizing conversations,” Greening said. “But to see that in numbers, especially with ‘everyone has a busy schedule and hard to get to somewhere in person,’ we're really happy with that.”

Greening said three of HAW-UAW Clinical’s goals include compensation, addressing limited career pathways, and job mis-titling.

The unit would “like to see much more collaboration with the University of ensuring that people who stay here 20 plus years have ways to develop and advance professionally,” she said.

According to Greening, some job titles act as “honorifics” and don’t reflect actual promotions.

“There's a very patchwork system of the clinics that results in inequities,” Greening said.

HAW-UAW Clinical’s next steps include electing representatives to form a bargaining committee and sending out bargaining surveys to the unit, per Greening

“That next step hasn’t fully materialized yet, but it’s coming very soon,” she said.

Corrections: April 4, 2024

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 110 people were eligible to vote in the unit. In fact, 96 people were eligible to vote.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 80 percent of voters showed up to the polls. In fact, 81 percent of eligible voters participated in the election.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 12 workers voted under challenge in the election. In fact, 13 workers voted under challenge.

—Staff writer Aran Sonnad-Joshi can be reached at aran.sonnad-joshi@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @asonnadjoshi.

—Staff writer Sheerea X. Yu can be reached at sheerea.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @_shuhree_.

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