Bargaining positions

Harvard began contract negotiations in October 2018 with HGSU-UAW and does so in good-faith, guided by its fundamental commitments as an academic institution. 

Current tentative agreements  

Tentative agreements on articles are reached when both parties have settled an article at the bargaining table. Articles that have been tenatitvely agreed to do not take effect until a complete contract has been agreed upon and ratified.


Active negotiations

**Negotiations are active and ongoing. Current proposals to date.**

Economic articles

The University’s economic proposals are responsive to many of the HGSU-UAW’s stated priorities and build off of the many already established practices and benefits that exist. Learn more

The University has offered proposals on many new benefits for student workers, including funds for health and dependent care, vacation days, and travel. Learn more

Non-economic articles

Title IX and nondiscrimination
Harvard University is committed to the safety and wellbeing of every member of its community, including ensuring an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, and one where every individual has the opportunity to succeed. Learn more

Additional non-economic articles

Discipline and Discharge

The University has agreed with the Union that a student worker cannot be disciplined, suspended or discharged from employment without just cause. (Discharge means the termination of a student worker’s employment appointment prior to its expiration .) To protect student privacy, the University will provide the Union with proposed discipline and background information if and only if the student has signed a FERPA waiver.

Because disciplinary matters can take more than one month to investigate, the University will not agree to expedited arbitration of discharge cases.

While the University will not agree to any provision that would allow the Union to bring academic matters to arbitration, such as retaliatory grading or retaliatory academic assessments for exercising rights under the contract, it would agree to requiring every School to develop a procedure for reviewing such complaints.

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Grievance and Arbitration

The University has proposed a grievance and arbitration process similar to those in other on-campus collective bargaining agreements. In selecting an arbitrator, the University proposes to use traditional arbitration agencies, like the American Arbitration Association or the Labor Management Connection, to select individual, unbiased arbitrators on a case by case basis.

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Past Practice / Effect of Agreement

The University has rejected a Union proposal that all past practices will continue in effect under conditions upon which they had previously been granted unless altered by mutual consent of the Employer and the Union.

The University has instead proposed an Effect of Agreement clause that would prohibit the Union from raising issues for bargaining during life of contract, and a Management Rights article that would allow management unilateral action during life of contract unless such action specifically contravenes some contract provision.

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Union Access

The University would provide all student workers performing bargaining unit work with a form that, when signed voluntarily, would constitute a written valid waiver of their privacy rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and affirm their consent to release non-directory information that may be sought by the Union for representational purposes and to which the Union would ordinarily be entitled under the National Labor Relations Act. Acceptance of an employment position is not contingent on affirming that the student waive FERPA rights.

The University would agree to release time for 10 student union representatives to attend grievance meetings and labor management committee meetings. It would also give the Union time to present at student worker orientations meetings, and the right to enter workspaces but only if not otherwise restricted by the academic department or by Environmental Health & Safety Department.

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Union Security

The University has proposed an “open shop” arrangement, where student workers would be able to choose whether or not they wish to join the Union and pay union dues. For those who do join, dues can be paid via a dues checkoff form from their paycheck . The University opposes the HGSU-UAW “union shop” proposal, which would require termination from employment for those student workers who do not pay their dues or fees.

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Frequently asked questions

Contracts, bargaining, and negotiations

If I object to a provision in the contract that is negotiated, do I have to abide by that provision?

Yes. Collective bargaining is just that: collective. The union now represents all students in the bargaining unit and the provisions in whatever contract they negotiate will apply to all. Any exceptions would need to be explicitly stated in the contract or negotiated with the union. Any collective bargaining agreement must be ratified by more than 50% of the members but once it goes into effect, members are bound by provisions in the agreement while they are a member of the bargaining unit (that is, while they hold a job covered by the agreement).

What is a tentative agreement (TA)?

When the parties have reached agreement on an individual article at the table, they initial the article as a “TA” or tentative agreement. That means that the TA’d article will not be reopened during negotiations, except by mutual agreement. Importantly, the TA’d article does not take effect until a complete contract has been agreed upon and ratified. The articles which have been TA’d can be found here

I have a question you did not answer. Where can I go for more information?

If your question is not answered in the FAQ section, or in any of the menu items above, please email, and it will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member.