CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The National Labor Relations Board on Dec. 12 rejected Harvard University’s appeal of its ruling that the
2016 election where graduate assistants voted against a union was invalid. The 3-0 vote—two Republicans on the board abstained—upheld the previous ruling nullifying the election because the university had left more than 500 people off the list of eligible voters it gave the Harvard Graduate Students Union, a United Auto Workers affiliate. The union had lost by 185 votes out of about 3,000 cast. Former NLRB chair William B. Gould IV told the Harvard Crimson that a new election could take place as soon as next month. “We’re excited,” said Andrew Donnelly, a graduate student and union organizer. “This ruling shows what we’ve known all along about the election.” A Harvard spokesperson insisted that the vote was conducted fairly. However, Yale and the University of Chicago have asked the NLRB to overrule its 2016 ruling that graduate assistants are university employees and thus have the right to form unions—and with two Trump appointees and one Republican holdover forming a majority on the five-member board, it might reverse that Obama-era precedent.