Harvard University’s student worker union, which is affiliated with the United Auto Workers, called off another planned strike Tuesday, saying it had reached a tentative contract agreement with the administration. A ratification vote involving the union’s full membership begins this week. Students workers went on strike last month for three days over prolonged negotiations for a second union contract, seeking better pay, a union security clause requiring that student workers be union members and more contractual protections against harassment and discrimination, including full arbitration options for identity-based discrimination beyond sexual and gender-based harassment and the ability to take sexual and gender-based harassment cases to arbitration.
The deal announced Tuesday doesn’t include all those goals but offers 5 percent raises for salaried workers over the life of the contract, an immediate pay floor of $20 per hour for hourly workers, a legal support fund for student workers going through sexual harassment and other complaint processes, and the option for appellate arbitration for discrimination and harassment cases in which there is new evidence. Previously agreed-upon contract terms include 70 percent pay for canceled classes, a yearly legal fund for students facing visa issues, preventative dental plans with premiums of 75 percent for salaried Ph.D. candidates, pay for research assistants leaving labs due to harassment and reimbursement for home office materials.