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UCLA Faculty Association files unfair labor practice charge against the UC

Faculty members hold a sign in support of student protesters in Dickson Plaza. The UCLA Faculty Association announced Monday that it filed an unfair labor practice charge against the UC over the University’s handling of the recent Palestine solidarity encampment. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Crosnoe

June 3, 2024 12:34 p.m.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

The UCLA Faculty Association announced Monday that it filed an unfair labor practice charge against the UC over the University’s treatment of faculty during the Palestine solidarity encampment and its aftermath.

UCLAFA – an organization representing UCLA faculty on issues of employment and academic freedom, unaffiliated with faculty or lecturer unions – claimed in the ULP charge that the University had interfered with employees’ guaranteed rights to assembly under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act and discriminated against those who exercised those rights.

“At every opportunity, the UC has interfered with our rights as faculty to organize collectively and to support our students,” said Graeme Blair, a member of UCLAFA and an associate professor of political science, in a written statement to the Daily Bruin. “We demand UC cease and desist from interfering with faculty rights and drop the charges against those who stood with students on the night of May 1.”

Specifically, UCLAFA claimed the UC ignored HEERA Section 3565, which states that employees have the right to form, join and participate in activities of employee organizations. The charge also claims the University violated Section 3571 subdivision A, which prevents employers from imposing or threatening to impose reprisals on employees for exercising HEERA rights.

“Faculty tried to protect their students and their right to peacefully protest,” the ULP charge said. “Nevertheless, the police subjected them to violence, arresting and brutalizing several faculty.”

The ULP further claimed that between April 25 and May 2, UCLA’s administration ignored faculty concerns regarding the safety of students within the encampment.

According to the ULP charge, members “directly communicated with the administration about specific acts of violence inflicted on students,” including on the night of April 30 when counter-protesters violently attacked the encampment with tear gas and fireworks.

A faculty member sent a text message to Vice Chancellor Michael Beck at 11:30 p.m. on April 30, informing him that counter-protesters were using pepper spray and had launched a “rocket attack” on students and faculty members in the encampment, according to the ULP.

The group also alleged that members of the UCLA administration – including Chancellor Gene Block – watched the events unfold from Royce Hall as students and faculty “pleaded for help.” UCLA Media Relations did not respond to requests for comment about Block’s whereabouts during either the attack on the encampment or the subsequent police sweep.

At 12:12 a.m. on May 1, vice chancellor for strategic communications Mary Osako said in a statement that police had been called for “immediate support,” but law enforcement did not intervene until over two hours later.

“Faculty repeatedly sounded the alarm to the administration that students were in danger,” the ULP said. “UCLAFA members…intervened to try to protect their students, in several cases physically placing themselves between students and counter-protestors.”

[Related: Law enforcement leadership structure at UCLA faces scrutiny in wake of encampment]

UCLAFA also alleged in the ULP that the UC infringed upon its HEERA rights by issuing new policies that prohibited faculty from speaking to students or employees about the United Auto Workers Local 4811 strike, which began at UCLA on Tuesday.

UAW Local 4811 voted to authorize a strike after filing a ULP against the UC for allegedly failing its responsibility as an employer when using force against union members during the sweep of the encampment.

“Any reasonable employee would interpret UC’s directives as an instruction not to exercise basic rights guaranteed by HEERA, including the right to engage in protected concerted activity and the right to academic freedom,” the ULP said.

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Alexandra Crosnoe
Crosnoe is the 2024-2025 national news and higher education editor. She was previously a News reporter. Crosnoe is a second-year economics and public affairs student from Dallas.
Crosnoe is the 2024-2025 national news and higher education editor. She was previously a News reporter. Crosnoe is a second-year economics and public affairs student from Dallas.
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