Judge Halts Gaza Protest Strikes at the University of California

A temporary halt has been ordered by a judge to the ongoing academic worker strike at the University of California. The strike, which has spread to multiple campuses, is in protest of the UC’s handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The state labor board’s decision to not intervene in the work stoppages was met with resistance from the UC, leading them to pursue legal action earlier this week. An Orange County Superior Court Judge, appointed by former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has granted a temporary restraining order against the United Auto Workers 4811.

The union’s setback is likely to escalate tensions with the university system, which has already faced challenges due to the occupation of academic buildings and the establishment of encampments on multiple campuses following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7th.

In a recent development, the 48,000-member union, comprising of classroom employees and researchers, has raised concerns over the UC’s handling of pro-Palestinian protesters and its delayed response to a violent counter-protest at UCLA. The union argues that these actions by the UC constitute an unfair labor practice. The university claims that the work stoppages are a form of political protest against the war in Gaza, and argues that they do not violate any no-strike clauses in the union’s contracts.

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“This strike has been deemed illegal and a violation of our contracts’ no-strike clauses, as we have consistently maintained,” stated Melissa Matella, associate vice president for Systemwide Labor Relations. “We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by individuals and groups in our community to address important issues and exercise their right to free speech, which remains prevalent throughout our system.”

Sherman has instructed workers to resume their duties until June 27, coinciding with the period when final exams are being conducted at various campuses.

“UC academic workers are confronting a significant challenge to our entire movement,” stated union President Rafael Jaime. “It is important to emphasize that this ongoing battle is far from being resolved.” Inside the courtroom, the law supports our cause and we are fully prepared to continue defending our rights. Meanwhile, outside, a staggering 48,000 workers stand ready for a protracted battle.

In a historic event, the union spearheaded a massive strike that reverberated throughout the entire 10-campus system, focusing on grievances related to wages and various other concerns. The decision to approve these walkouts was made with the understanding that they would continue until the end of the academic year on June 30.

Workers at six campuses went on strike in an effort to create maximum chaos, according to Jaime. According to court filings, the UC reported significant disruptions to campus operations, resulting in the cancellation of certain classes.

“The strike could have had a significant impact on students’ academic progress and potentially disrupted important research projects in the final quarter,” Matella stated.

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