Student Unionization Election–Update
February 22, 2017
Today, the Boston office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) opens a hearing to consider outstanding questions around the Harvard student union election conducted in November 2016. I am writing on behalf of the University to provide the latest information about what is happening now and our understanding of what lies ahead.
Thus far, the majority of the ballots counted are against unionization (1,456 student votes opposed versus 1,272 in support). The difference between them (184) is smaller than the number of outstanding challenge ballots (approximately 277). Of those challenge ballots, some were cast by individuals described in the election agreement as eligible to vote but under challenge, and the remaining were cast by students who were not on the list of eligible voters.
The NLRB hearing will consider:
- If any of the remaining challenge ballots are eligible to be counted under the specific terms of the election agreement signed by the University and the Harvard Graduate Students Union–United Auto Workers (HGSU-UAW).
- The filing by the HGSU-UAW of a formal objection to the election. The HGSU-UAW filed with the NLRB an objection to the election itself. You can read more about the objection and the University’s response in the University Messages section of the Student Unionization page on the Office of the Provost website.
The hearing will continue from day to day until the evidence is complete, which could take two to three weeks. Daily sessions will take place at the NLRB office in Boston. At the close of the hearing, the NLRB hearing officer will consider all of the facts and evidence, and issue a written decision on the challenge ballots and the objection.
We are eager to resolve these issues and confirm the outcome of the election. The University is cooperating fully in this process to ensure that every eligible vote is counted, consistent with the terms of the election agreement. We are committed to protecting academic freedom, the integrity of our teaching and research mission, and doing everything we can to improve the experience of our students, who are at the heart of Harvard’s learning, teaching, and scholarship.
You can find more information on the Office of the Provost website.
Director of Labor and Employee Relations