Harvard Graduate Students Go on Indefinite Strike
Braving snow and cold, hundreds of graduate students at Harvard University on Tuesday marched across campus to press the university officials for a labor contracts.
According to an NPR report, the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW, which represents over 4,400 student workers, failed to negotiate a contract with the school officials over demands such as pay equity and health insurance.
The indefinite strike will impact the completion of academic work ranging from grant applications to pre-exam reviews and final grading, among others.
“Our negotiations have not yielded a fair agreement,” Ege Yumusak, a Ph.D. candidate on the bargaining committee was quoted by NPR.
“[Most] importantly, we haven’t heard responses from the administration on our demands for our basic rights and protections, such as protections against harassment and discrimination, that other unionized workers on this campus have, as well as thousands of student workers across the nation,” Yumusak added.
— Amy Beth (@AmyFrieder) December 4, 2019
According to the student union, the negotiations with the university started in October 2018. Members made over 150 proposals on over 45 different issues and both the parties reached an agreement on 11 of them.
The union has been demanding a review of compensation and payroll policy, curbing sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, health benefits, family friendly benefits, professional development, emergency grant among others.
Meanwhile, the university officials called the strike “unwarranted” and ensured that it will have “as little disruption as possible” to students as they are preparing for their final exams.
“Student workers have an vital role in fulfilling Harvard’s teaching and research mission, and with that in mind, the University is committed to addressing concerns that have been raised throughout this process,” Jason Newton, a spokesman for Harvard University told USA Today.
“A strike will neither clarify our respective positions nor will it resolve areas of disagreement.”