BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is urging her former employer, Harvard University, to let graduate students who work as research and teaching assistants at the school to form collective bargaining units.

Warren and fellow Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Markey sent a letter to Harvard University President Drew Faust on Monday, saying the students’ work has helped make Harvard an academic world leader.

They say respecting the students’ wishes to form a collective bargaining unit will help them continue their work.

Efforts to unionize graduate students at private universities have gained momentum as the National Labor Relations Board weighs arguments that they are not just students, but also school employees.

The letter was also signed by Democratic U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano and Katherine Clark.

Warren is a former Harvard Law School professor.

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