News and Events

Graduate Student Strike: How to Support HGSU-UAW Workers

As many of you know, the Harvard Graduate Student Union (HGSU-UAW), which represents approximately 5,000 graduate student workers on the Harvard campus, has been engaged in contract negotiations with Harvard administrators since October 2018. Unfortunately, Harvard and HGSU-UAW negotiators have not yet been able to reach agreement. As a result, on October 25, 2019, HGSU-UAW members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. Following that vote, graduate student negotiators indicated that if the parties fail to reach an agreement by Tuesday, December 3, 2019, HGSU graduate student workers across Harvard will go on strike.

We have been in regular contact with HGSU-UAW leaders during their negotiations and have talked to them about how HUCTW members can best support the graduate student workers during their upcoming strike.

One very meaningful way you can show support for striking HGSU-UAW workers is by turning down work you are asked to do that would normally be done by striking graduate students. We encourage you to respectfully decline these types of requests, letting managers and faculty know that you do not feel comfortable doing the jobs of striking HGSU-UAW workers. You can also let your manager know that HUCTW leaders have advised all 5,300 HUCTW members across the campus that they should not be required to cover graduate student work during the strike, and show them this email message.

If you turn down requests to cover graduate student work and receive push-back from managers, faculty, or HR, please feel free to reach out to the HUCTW office. We are happy to help you navigate these situations.

In this message, we are only asking that HUCTW members decline to carry out the work of striking graduate students – not their own work. As HUCTW members are not on strike, you should continue to carry out your regular job duties. Showing up for your job and carrying out your regular HUCTW job duties will not be seen as “crossing the picket line.” Some HUCTW members have let us know that they sometimes carry out very similar work to graduate students (for example, some of our members regularly book classrooms as a part of their HUCTW jobs, and some graduate students regularly book classrooms as part of their jobs). You should continue to carry out any job duties that are normally part of your HUCTW responsibilities.

Other ways you can show support for striking graduate student workers include:

If you have any questions or concerns about the strike or anything above, please let us know ( or 617-661-8289).