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Thousands of UAW members join strike at UCLA and UC Davis over unfair labor practices

Unions demand UC respect free speech rights and provide safe working environments

Thousands of UAW Local 4811 members at UCLA and UC Davis launched a campus-wide strike against unfair labor practices today, marking the second round of action of that type. UAW 4811 represents approximately 48,000 workers statewide, including 6,400 at UCLA and 5,700 at UC Davis. These university workers, who do most of the teaching, research and grading at these institutions, join 2,000 of their colleagues at UC Santa Cruz who walked off the job on May 20.

University workers at three other campuses could be called to strike next week if the University of California does not make enough progress in resolving unfair labor practices (ULPs).

The ULPs stem from UC’s response to nonviolent protests from the university community across the state. The allegations include the deployment of militarized police officers from various law enforcement agencies to forcibly remove and arrest peaceful protesters at UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego; make unilateral changes to employee discipline standards, free speech rights, and academic freedom; and disciplining and suspending employees participating in peaceful protests.

“This is a crisis brought on by the university itself,” said Anny Viloria Winnett, president of the UAW 4811 University Student and Employee Unit at UCLA. “Our ULP strike is a response to the illegal actions of the UC. The university community across the state protested peacefully. In response, we were kicked, beaten with clubs and attacked with gas canisters and fireworks, and riot police pointed their guns at our heads. Many have been arrested, sanctioned and banned from the campuses where they live and work. We demand that UC respect our rights to free speech and peaceful protest, embedded in our rights as University employees. We are on the right side of history and the right side of the law.

“People are incredibly motivated,” said Emily Weintraut, president of the UAW 4811 University Student and Employee Unit at UC Davis. “There is a lot of movement because people are extremely upset about the severity of the threat the university poses to our right to free speech and a safe work environment. We call on the UC to drop charges against all those who have been wrongfully arrested or disciplined as a first step in resolving their unfair labor practices, and to respect our rights to free speech and peaceful assembly that they guaranteed us.

UCLA university workers gathered at noon on the steps of Bruin Bear, while those at UC Davis gathered at 11:30 a.m. at the Memorial Union Quad.