Harvard alumni, now faculty, vote to form union

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Washington, April 21 (IANS) Harvard University graduates now teaching at the institution have voted to form a labour union to bargain for higher salaries despite opposition from the management.

The 1,931-1,523 vote counted on Friday, following election on Wednesday and Thursday, represents roughly three quarters of the 4,500 graduates and 300 undergraduates in teaching and researching assistance positions, Xinhua news agency reported.

The formation of the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers will allow students in teaching and researching assistance positions to bargain collectively for salary levels, access to dental insurance and dependent health insurance and consistency in pay for teaching course sections.

The vote was the second of its kind after a previous effort was ruled inconclusive, as not enough students participated in the vote.

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Harvard University has strongly opposed unionisation of students, saying that the graduates have an academic, not a managerial relationship with their faculty advisers and the university.

It is unclear if the university will call the result into dispute. Prior to Harvard, students at Columbia University voted to unionise in 2016.

–IANS

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