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UC academic workers strike, claim rights were violated during campus protests

May 28

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Academic workers for the University of California (UC) school system are officially on strike after alleging the university system violated their rights during pro-Palestinian protests last month. On April 30, pro-Palestinian protesters and counterprotesters clashed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. Police dismantled the pro-Palestinian encampments and arrested nearly 200 protesters.

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United Auto Workers Local 4811, representing over 48,000 workers from the University of California system, filed charges with the state labor board on May 10. The union claims that the university unlawfully changed workplace policies to suppress anti-war speech.

The state labor board noted that the union contract includes a no-strike provision.

“If a strike is allowed for political and social disputes, the associated work stoppages would significantly impact UC’s ability to deliver on its promises to its students, community and the state of California,” the UC Office of the President said in a statement.

Last week, nearly 80% of academic workers across UC’s 10 campuses voted in favor of rolling strikes. The workers claimed unfair labor practices when the university allowed police to remove encampments and arrest peaceful protesters.

The union said the UC school system called armed police officers to “violently eject and arrest peaceful protesters.” The union is seeking amnesty for those arrested or facing disciplinary action, citing freedom of speech concerns.

“TAs are not going to be submitting grades,” Kaia Shah, a spokesperson for the protest, said. “They’re not going to be performing their labor that the university relies on. The TAs are part of the backbone of this university, and by withholding their labor, they’re sending a very clear message to the university that they refuse to participate in day-to-day operations of this university while we remain complicit in the genocide in Gaza.”

Last week, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block testified before Congress about rising antisemitism on UCLA’s campus since the Israel-Hamas war started. He admitted that in hindsight, moving pro-Palestinian encampments off-campus could have prevented violence. During questioning, Block defended calling police to dismantle protests.

Block is retiring as chancellor this July.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

ACADEMIC WORKERS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SCHOOL SYSTEM ARE OFFICIALLY ON STRIKE – SAYING THEIR RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DURING PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTS LAST MONTH.

YOU MAY REMEMBER… THE NIGHT OF APRIL 30TH – PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTORS AND COUNTER-PROTESTORS CLASHED ON UCLA’S CAMPUS – RESULTING IN POLICE DISMANTLING PRO-PALESTINIAN ENCAMPMENTS AND ARRESTING NEARLY 200 PROTESTERS.

UNITED AUTO WORKERS LOCAL 4811 REPRESENTS MORE THAN 48-THOUSAND WORKERS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SCHOOL SYSTEM. ON MAY 10TH – THE UNION FILED CHARGES WITH THE STATE LABOR BOARD ALLEGING THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UNLAWFULLY CHANGED ITS WORKPLACE POLICIES TO SUPPRESS ANTI-WAR SPEECH.

THE STATE RESPONDED SAYING THE UNION LABOR CONTRACT HAS A NO STRIKE PROVISION. THE UC OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT SAID “IF A STRIKE IS ALLOWED FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DISPUTES, THE ASSOCIATED WORK STOPPAGES WOULD SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT UC’S ABILITY TO DELIVER ON ITS PROMISES TO ITS STUDENTS, COMMUNITY AND THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.”

NEARLY 80-PERCENT OF ALL ACADEMIC WORKERS ON U-C’S 10 CAMPUSES VOTED LAST WEEK IN FAVOR OF ROLLING STRIKES – CLAIMING UC PARTICIPATED IN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES AGAINST THE WORKERS WHEN THE SCHOOL ALLOWED POLICE OFFICERS TO DISMANTLE PRO-PALESTINIAN ENCAMPMENTS AND ARREST HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES FOR THEIR CONDUCT RELATED TO THE PROTESTS.

THE UNION SAYS THE UC SCHOOL SYSTEM SUMMONED MILITARIZED POLICE OFFICERS TO “VIOLENTLY EJECT AND ARREST PEACEFUL PROTESTERS.”

THE UNION IS SEEKING AMNESTY FOR ACADEMIC WORKERS AND STUDENTS WHO WERE ARRESTED OR FACING DISCIPLINARY ACTION FOR THEIR ROLES IN THE PROTESTS – CITING FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

[KAIA SHAH]

“TAs ARE NOT GOING TO BE SUBMITTING GRADES. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BE PERFORMING THEIR LABOR THAT THE UNIVERSITY RELIES ON. THE TAS ARE PART OF THE BACKBONE OF THIS UNIVERSITY. AND BY, WITHHOLDING THEIR LABOR, THEY’RE SENDING A VERY CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE UNIVERSITY THAT THEY REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF THIS UNIVERSITY WHILE WE REMAIN COMPLICIT IN THE GENOCIDE IN GAZA.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

LAST WEEK — UCLA’S CHANCELLOR GENE BLOCK TESTIFIED BEFORE THE HOUSE EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE COMMITTEE ABOUT THE RISE OF ANTISEMITISM ON UCLA’S CAMPUS. HE SAID IN HINDSIGHT, THE PRO-PALESTINIAN ENCAMPMENTS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MOVED OFF CAMPUS BEFORE THE VIOLENT CLASHES BROKE OUT.

DURING QUESTIONING, BLOCK DEFENDED THE DECISION TO CALL IN POLICE TO DISMANTLE THE PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTEST.

CHANCELLOR BLOCK IS SET TO RETIRE IN JULY.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M LAUREN TAYLOR.

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