A majority of Harvard University's graduate student employees voted in favor of unionization, according to The Crimson. The National Labor Relations Board released the official vote count on April 20, indicating that 56 percent of 3,454 votes were in favor of Harvard's union.
Harvard teaching and research assistants held the election on April 18 and April 19 to determine whether Harvard Graduate Students Union — United Auto Workers would become their official union.
The graduate student union will be be the first in Harvard's history. This means approximately 5,000 students now qualify for collective bargaining with the university as members of HGSU-UAW.
Harvard is one of the nation’s few private universities, including Columbia University, where student unions have assembled without the university’s voluntary union recognition.
HGSU-UAW unionization election took place just two months after the pro-union organization Graduate Employees Together — University of Pennsylvania decided to retract its petition for the right to vote for union representation.
In December, Philadelphia’s NLRB approved a petition filed by Penn’s graduate student workers for the right to vote on unionization. GET-UP initially planned to hold the election this spring.
However, on Feb. 15, GET-UP posted a statement on Facebook announcing plans to rescind its petition, meaning Penn graduate students will not be able to expect a union in the near future.
In a statement on its Facebook page, GET-UP said that it is withdrawing its petition to prevent the GOP-dominated NLRB from using the vote as an opportunity to overturn a 2016 decision that allowed graduate students to unionize.