Friday, June 21, 2024

AdvertiseDonateSubmit
NewsSportsArtsOpinionThe QuadPhotoVideoIllustrationsCartoonsGraphicsThe StackPRIMEEnterpriseInteractivesPodcastsBruinwalkClassifieds

IN THE NEWS:

SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLAUCLA chancellor appointment

United Auto Workers Local 4811 votes to authorize strike

Postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers represented by United Auto Workers Local 4811 march through the Court of Sciences on May 9 with a banner representing their former union, UAW Local 5810. UAW Local 4811 voted Wednesday to authorize a strike in response to the University’s use of force toward students in Palestine solidarity encampments across the UC system. (Zoraiz Irshad/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Matthew Royer

May 15, 2024 7:21 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that UAW Local 2865 filed an unfair labor practice violation May 3. In fact, it was UAW Local 4811 that filed an unfair labor practice violation.

This post was updated May 17 at 3:09 p.m.

United Auto Workers Local 4811 announced Wednesday that its membership voted to authorize a strike if its leadership deems it necessary – calling on its UC Santa Cruz membership Friday to “stand up” as the first campus to strike Monday.

The move comes after the union – the result of the merger of UAW Local 2865 and UAW Local 5810, which represents UC academic student employees and graduate students, academic and postdoctoral researchers – announced May 6 that it would hold a strike authorization vote from Monday to Wednesday.

According to a UAW press release, 19,780 academic workers of its approximately 48,000 members voted in the strike authorization, with 79% of participating students voting in favor of the action.

“At the heart of this is our right to free speech and peaceful protest,” said Rafael Jaime, a doctoral student in English and president of UAW 4811 in the press release. “If members of the academic community are maced and beaten down for peacefully demonstrating on this issue, our ability to speak up on all issues is threatened.”

Jaime added in the press release that the UC Board of Regents has no excuse to allow for unfair labor practices toward the union’s student workers. 

“As days pass with no remedies for UC’s unfair labor practices, academic workers on more and more campuses are preparing to stand up to demand that our rights to free speech, protest and collective action be respected,” Jaime said.

UAW Local 4811 filed an unfair labor practice violation May 3 against the UC relating to the dismantling of the Palestine solidarity encampment at UCLA. The violation alleged that the university and law enforcement’s use of force against UAW Local 4811 members, undergraduate students and faculty contravened its responsibility as an employer.

The strike authorization gives the union’s leadership the ability to call on its rank-and-file to withhold labor if the university does not meet its demands. 

Demands include the UC to begin potential “peaceful negotiations” with pro-Palestine demonstrators, amnesty for arrested protesters, the right to free speech on campus, divestment from the industrial military complex and companies profiting off of the war in Gaza, full disclosure of the UC’s investments and efforts to transition out of research funding related to what its members see as Palestinian oppression.

If the union does strike, it will mark the first time since November 2022 that UC academic student employees and graduate students – including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars and student researchers – withheld their labor.

Heather Hansen, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, said that while the University understands the impact “the conflict in the Middle East” has on its students, the UC believes that issues relating to the conflict fall outside the scope of labor negotiations.

“UC believes that a strike sets a dangerous precedent that would introduce non-labor issues into labor agreements,” Hansen 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.”

In an emailed statement May 6, Hansen said the UCOP also believes that if UAW Local 4811 did authorize a strike, there would be no legal basis for it under its current contract. On Friday, the UC filed an unfair labor practice charge against UAW Local 4811 over its claims of illegality. In the charge, the University asked the state’s Public Employment Relations Board to order the union to “cease and desist” its plans to strike.

The strike in 2022 began due to the union’s allegation of unfair labor practices from the UC, which included unlawful actions such as surveying bargaining unit members and bypassing the bargaining process.

The strike came to an end in December 2022 after members of UAW Local 2865 and Student Researchers United-UAW ratified a contract negotiated with the UC.

[Related: UAW ratifies contracts for graduate student workers, ends historic UC-wide strike]

The contract – which expires next year – included higher wages for all workers, up to an 80% increase and included remission for three years of nonresident student tuition for international workers, increased childcare benefits and anti-harassment measures.

In January 2024, UAW Local 2865 came to an agreement with the UC on increased wages and employment rates for graduate student researchers after the union alleged the University ignored the contract ratified in 2022.

Share this story:FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
Matthew Royer | National news and higher education editor
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats and is Copy staff. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats and is Copy staff. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
COMMENTS
Featured Classifieds
Room for Rent

Furnished studio/bedroom unit w/private bath between UCLA and Santa Monica $1,175 month. Single bus public transport to UCLA or the beach. Txt 1(805)551-9922

More classifieds »
Related Posts