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Orange County Superior Court orders halt to ongoing UAW strike

United Auto Workers Local 4811 picket in Dickson Plaza after voting to authorize a strike May 15. An Orange County Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order to the UC on Friday to halt the strike. (Zimo Li/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Crosnoe

June 7, 2024 5:43 p.m.

This post was updated June 11 at 2:35 p.m.

An Orange County Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order Friday to the UC to halt the United Auto Workers Local 4811 strike. 

The move comes after the UC filed a breach of contract lawsuit Tuesday, claiming UAW Local 4811 violated the no-strike clause set in a 2022 collective bargaining agreement between the two parties. The UC previously attempted to halt the strike by filing for injunctive relief from the California Public Employment Relations Board, but the board denied the requests on May 23 and June 3. 

“From the beginning, we have stated this strike was illegal and a violation of our contracts’ mutually agreed upon no-strike clauses,” said Melissa Matella, associate vice president for systemwide relations for the UC in an emailed statement. “UAW’s strike is unrelated to employment terms, violates the parties’ agreements, and runs contrary to established labor principles.” 

The union voted to authorize a strike May 15 after it filed multiple unfair labor practice violations against the UC, claiming the University failed its responsibility as an employer when it allowed law enforcement to use force on its members during the sweep of the Palestine solidarity encampment at UCLA. The strike began at UC Santa Cruz on May 20, and UCLA and UC Davis joined May 28. The strike has since extended to UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego.

In a press release, UAW Local 4811 President Rafael Jaime said PERB’s ruling to deny injunctive relief to the UC should stand.

“PERB, the regulatory body with the expertise to rule on labor law, has twice found no grounds to halt our strike,” Jaime said in the release. “In the courtroom, the law is on our side and we’re prepared to keep defending our rights.”

A Monday press release from UAW Local 4811 told union members to comply with the court order and return to work. However, the release also said union leadership will focus its efforts on preparing for an upcoming PERB trial regarding the board’s complaint filed against the UC on June 3.

The complaint alleges that the UC violated Government Code Section 3571(a), which makes it illegal for employers to threaten or impose reprisals on employees for exercising their rights, which are guaranteed by the Higher Education Employer-Employee Act. It claims the University breached this section when it “prevented employee protesters from exercising speech rights” and “took adverse action against employees” by allowing police to use force on union members at UC Irvine, UCLA and UC San Diego during pro-Palestine protests and subsequently issuing disciplinary action against union members involved in the protests.

The complaint further states that the UC violated Government Code Section 3571(c), which makes it unlawful for a higher education employer to refuse or fail to meet with an exclusive representative of an employee group.

The complaint alleges that the UC violated this section by making “unilateral” changes to policy during pro-Palestine protests throughout the UC system, including those regarding free speech, disciplinary action against protesters and transitions to remote instruction following protests.

“We expect that a trial date will soon be announced over the extensive complaint the Board filed against UC,” said Jaime in the Monday release. “We will continue making our case, in the courts and on the street, until we secure justice for ourselves and our movement.”

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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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