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Ten Stories That Shaped 2020

The past twelve months were a year like no other for Harvard and the world. Under the backdrop of a once-in-a-century pandemic, students took classes from all over the globe, while pushing for social change at the University and on the political stage. Here, The Crimson reviews ten stories that defined 2020 at Harvard.


Grad Union Files Grievance Over Exclusion of Population Health Sciences Students

Harvard’s graduate student union filed a grievance against the University and met with administrators earlier this month in response to Harvard’s decision to exclude 108 students in Population Health Sciences from the union’s bargaining unit.


At Least Five GSAS Departments To Admit No Graduate Students Next Year

At least five departments in Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will not admit students for next year as a result of belt-tightening measures due to the coronavirus pandemic and an increased focus on advising and diversity.


HGSU-UAW Urges Harvard to Oppose Trump Visa Rule Change

Organizers for Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers are circulating a petition that calls on Vice Provost for International Affairs Mark C. Elliott and the Harvard International Office to act in opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed visa policy change for international students.


Grad Student Union Alleges Harvard Attempting to ‘Defund’ the Union by ‘Starving Out’ Resources

As it begins its first semester as a fully operational locale, Harvard’s graduate student union is alleging that the University is attempting to defund the union and impede its organizing by not deducting union dues for student workers, according to union president Brandon J. Mancilla.


Grad Union Ratifies First-Ever Contract

After nearly two years of negotiations and more than five years of union organizing, members of Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers voted to ratify the union’s first contract with the University Tuesday.


Grad Union Reaches Contract With Harvard

The bargaining committee for Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers reached a tentative one-year contract with the University Monday, which they will now unanimously recommend to union members for ratification.


Grad Union Offers ‘Comprehensive Compromise Proposal’ Including Compensation Provisions

Harvard’s graduate student union offered a “comprehensive compromise proposal” to the University in a virtual bargaining session Thursday afternoon, bargaining committee member Lee Kennedy-Shaffer wrote in an email update to members Saturday.


Congress Members Call on Harvard and Grad Union to ‘Resolve Their Differences’ and Settle a Contract

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Representative Andrew S. Levin (D-Mich.) called on Harvard and its graduate student union to set apart their differences and settle the union’s first labor contract in a virtual conversation posted to Twitter in late April.


Harvard Proposes One-Year Contract With Grad Union At Remote Bargaining Session

During a virtual bargaining session with its graduate student union Friday, Harvard proposed creating a one-year contract that addresses compensation and health care provisions, according to email updates from both parties.


Grad Union Expresses Concerns with Workload, Health Care, and Research During Pandemic

Student workers said they were concerned about workload protections, health care security, and research opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic, given the absence of a contract between Harvard and its graduate student union.


Harvard Grad Union Reaches Tentative Workload Agreement With University, Calls for Fully-Funded 'Bridge Year'

Harvard and its graduate student union signed a tentative agreement setting a maximum limit on student workers’ weekly hours after a virtual back-and-forth last week. The union is also asking for a fully-funded “bridge year” for all Ph.D. students to continue research projects interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.


Grad Union Alleges Harvard Asked to Suspend Bargaining Due to COVID-19 Challenges; Univ. Denies Claim

Harvard’s graduate student union is alleging that administrators have asked to suspend ongoing contract negotiations while the University reevaluates its financial situation due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — a claim that Harvard denies.


Harvard Unions Respond to School Closures Due to Coronavirus

Three of Harvard's labor unions are forming contingency plans and cancelling events after Harvard announced Tuesday that it would send undergraduates home for the remainder of the semester and hold classes online due to the coronavirus outbreak.


Panelists Criticize Harvard’s Negotiations with Grad Student Union at IOP Event

Former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse and President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson criticized Harvard for its stance in ongoing negotiations with Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers at an IOP event Wednesday.


Grad Student Union Alleges University Engaged in ‘Regressive Bargaining,’ Hid Behind Trump Administration

After a Friday bargaining session, Harvard’s graduate student union accused the University of “hiding behind the Trump administration” to undermine contract negotiations in an email to members Monday.


Bargaining Update

Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers reached tentative new agreements with the University, regarding holidays, vacations and personal days, an employee assistance program, and parking/biking and transit benefits.


Harvard and Grad Union Reach New Bargaining Agreements One Month After Strike Ends

Harvard and its graduate student union reached three new tentative contract provisions — including agreements on holidays, employee assistance, and parking and transportation benefits — in their most recent mediated bargaining session last week.


Sanders’s New Senate Bill Could Protect Graduate Student Workers’ Employee Rights from Proposed NLRB Ruling, Experts Say

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has introduced a new bill which — if passed — could protect graduate student workers’ employee rights from a proposed National Labor Relations Board rule that would classify graduate student workers as non-employees, experts say.


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