Harvard Unionization Enters New Stage of Uncertainty
Art & Education News: Harvard Unionization Enters New Stage of Uncertainty
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS–Following last week’s report that Harvard University omitted names from a roster of eligible voters for the November 2016 graduate student unionization vote, Harvard Magazine reports that the university has filed an objection to the National Labor Relations Board’s tentative decision to hold a new election. The NLRB’s ruling did not specify when a new election would occur, but it would likely be held at the earliest in the fall unless the unionization vote is further delayed in legal limbo.
An effort to create a union of graduate student workers on Harvard’s campus was narrowly defeated in the November 2016 vote. Results have been subject to increased scrutiny by the NLRB pending legal challenges from the university and the United Auto Workers, the partner union of the potential Harvard Graduate Students Union. A protracted certification of unionization votes is not unique to Harvard: a vote for unionization by graduate student workers at Yale has been challenged by that university and subsequently inspired hunger strikes.
In a statement, Harvard University spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven said, “Questions about the list of eligible voters – the basis for the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Works (HGSU-UAW) claim for a new election – ignore the facts. Thousands of students voted, including a majority of those found by the NLRB Hearing Officer to have been omitted from the voter list, and most of those ballots have already been counted. Students were highly engaged, and after nearly two years of organizing on campus by the HGSU-UAW, thousands voted in the November 2016 election – a majority in opposition to unionization.”