Letter to Harvard Administrators about strike

HGSU-UAW, my campus union, has provided a simple form for emailing administrators about the upcoming strike deadline and urging them to stop a strike. They have even provided templates for different constituencies (undergraduates, family, faculty) to build on in their letters. This is the letter I wrote:

Dear administrators,

I have no love for going on strike. I’d much rather spend those hours writing my dissertation than yelling about Harvard’s greedy side on the picket line. But it doesn’t look like we have any choice, unless the tenor of bargaining really changes. It’s been well over a year and we are still at huge impasses.

We are not making unreasonable demands. The University of California provides graduate students with dental insurance. Yale provides health insurance coverage for dependents at no additional charge. The University of Washington provides dental, vision, and dependent health insurance to graduate students (though, to be fair, their endowment is much bigger than Harvard’s). An arbitration procedure for harassment and discrimination is how Harvard handles these issues for other employees on campus like dining workers or clerical workers. We are not asking for anything special.

I am proud to be at Harvard, but you shouldn’t have to be a single, healthy, or wealthy to thrive here. We should lead on these issues of equity, not let people slip through the cracks. Our bargaining committee is ready to finish the contract and to make compromises, but for them to make compromises your side has to finally admit that health care, harassment, and wages are within the scope of bargaining. I urge you to make that happen.

Sincerely,
Michael Zoorob (G4, Department of Government)

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