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UCLA Academic Workers Strike Over Protest Response

UCLA Academic Workers Strike Over Protest Response

Pro-Palestinian students and activsts gather on the plaza in front of Royce Hall at the University of California Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

5/28/2024

Updated: 5/28/2024

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A rolling strike by unionized academic workers upset about the University of California’s response to pro-Palestinian protests at various campuses came to UCLA May 28 as part of the second wave of union walkouts.
Workers represented by United Auto Workers Local 4811 had already been striking at UC Santa Cruz in what the union called the first wave of planned walkouts. The second round of strikes began Tuesday at UCLA and UC Davis.
Early Tuesday morning, a small group of workers walked a picket line on the UCLA campus, and a major rally was planned for midday.
The strike is “in response to egregious unfair labor practices that UC has committed, including summoning militarized police officers from numerous outside law enforcement to violently eject and arrest peaceful protesters at UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego; making unilateral changes to standards for employee discipline, free speech rights and academic freedom; and disciplining and suspending employees engaged in peaceful protest,” according to the union.
The UC system has blasted the union’s allegations and filed unfair labor practice complaints of its own, saying the union’s labor contract has a no-strike provision and that the union’s demands are outside the scope of union labor issues.
In a statement released before the union’s strike-authorization vote, officials at the University of California Office of the President said, “UC believes that the vote currently being conducted by UAW leadership sets a dangerous precedent that would introduce nonlabor issues into labor agreements. 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 union represents teaching assistants, readers, tutors, student researchers and academic researchers.
UAW Local 4811 is asking the UC schools to give amnesty to all academic employees and students who face arrest or disciplinary actions for protesting. The union wants the students to have guarantees of freedom of speech and political expression on campus and is asking for researchers to be able to opt out of funding sources tied to the Israeli Defense Force.
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