Harvard University reached a tentative agreement this week with its 4,400 graduate student union who “teach, conduct research and work on campus,” according to news sources.
If the contract is ratified, it would be “the first in university history to provide more than 4,000 student workers at Harvard with workplace protections,” according to the student-run Harvard Crimson.
Student workers will now be granted a 2.8 percent pay raise, a minimum wage of $16 per hour for “for non-salaried student workers,” and $17 per hour “for students with hourly instructional roles.”
Teaching assistants working at one of Harvard’s professionals schools will also receive a pay raise, up to “$5,520 per section per semester.” Health and child care will also be elevated, the university will now “[guarantee] union members up to $575,000 in funds to cover dental costs, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses.”
And for child care, “the union also secured childcare subsidies via a new $350,000 fund,” the Crimson reported.
In an email to faculty, Harvard Provost Alan Garber announced that students are "the heart of our institution,” and said the university’s decision “appropriately addresses the employment-related concerns of our student workers, while also ensuring the integrity of the University’s research and teaching mission.”
The students and the university reached the agreement on June 15 after 19 months of bargaining and a strike in December 2019.
The new union is called the Harvard Graduate Student Workers-United Automobile Workers.
The compromise between Harvard and its graduate students does not include some “prominent demands,” according to WBUR Radio, including “the right for student workers to bring complaints of harassment and discrimination to a neutral process of arbitration.”
Ruby Rosenthal contributed to this report.