Washington, DC — United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, along with Representatives Michael Capuano and Katherine Clark, have sent a letter urging Harvard University President Drew Faust to recognize collective bargaining units of graduate student research and teaching assistants if they wish to organize.
"For decades, U.S. labor law has protected the rights of workers to organize. This critical labor protection has been central to building our nation's middle class and growing our economy, and it has helped create safe and fair working conditions for millions of American workers," the Members of Congress wrote. "The work of Harvard graduate student research and teaching assistants help to make Harvard a world leader academically.  They are part of what makes Harvard an important economic engine in Cambridge and Greater Boston. Respecting the wishes of these students to form a collective bargaining organization will help these students continue this important work well into the future."
Universities currently have the option to recognize collective bargaining units formed by graduate assistants; however, universities such as Harvard have delayed this recognition pending a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would force the universities to permit students to organize.
"University administrators worldwide look to Harvard as a model for their own universities. If Harvard welcomes graduate research and teaching assistants who desire to organize for improved workplace policies, a new standard of care may emerge," the letter from the members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation states.
Read a PDF copy of the letter here.