UCLA, Davis join strike supporting pro-Palestinian protesters

May 30, 2024
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Academic employees at two more University of California campuses have joined the University of California, Santa Cruz in the strike supporting pro-Palestinian protesters, and their union says three more campuses could be called to join the walkout next week.

UAW Local 4811—which says it represents 48,000 graduate student workers, postdoctoral scholars and other academic employees across the UC System—said in a news release Tuesday that thousands of its workers at the Los Angeles and Davis campuses had answered its call to join the strike. The union says it represents 6,400 employees at UCLA, 5,700 at Davis and more than 2,000 at Santa Cruz, meaning over 14,000 employees may be participating, but it’s unclear how many are currently withholding their labor.

The UC System has called the strike illegal. The union says it’s a strike over alleged unfair labor practices by the UC system. Union members have been among those arrested and subjected to university discipline for their participation in pro-Palestinian protests, the union says, and it has accused the UC system of favoring anti-Palestinian over pro-Palestinian speech.

Police have arrested hundreds of people while clearing protest encampments from UC campuses. Counterprotesters attacked a UCLA encampment on April 30, and campus police didn’t immediately intervene. The next day, campus police and outside cops, armored in riot gear, cleared the encampment and arrested more than 200 people.

“The academic community across the state has been peacefully protesting,” Anny Viloria Winnett, the union’s academic student employee unit chair for UCLA, said in the union news release. “In response, we have been kicked, maced and attacked with gas canisters and fireworks, and riot police have pointed weapons … Many have been arrested, disciplined and are being banned from the campuses where they live and work.”

Emily Weintraut, the union’s academic student employee unit chair for Davis, said in the release that the union is asking UC System officials “to drop the charges against everyone who has been unfairly arrested or disciplined as a first step to resolve their unfair labor practices, and respect our rights to free speech and peaceful assembly that they had guaranteed us.”

In response to the strike, Mary Osako, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for strategic communications, said: “[Our students] are paying tuition and fees to learn, and we’re dismayed by deliberate outside disruptions that get in the way of that. Students want to hear their professors teach, not the piercing sounds of trumpets, drums and slogans being shouted right outside their classroom windows.”



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