In response to an escalating pattern of illegal threats and intimidation against our members across the state, our union, UAW Local 2865, has voted to call for a statewide strike. After several weeks of deep consideration, the four day Joint Council Vote just concluded with a clear decision to call a strike beginning on June 7th, the first day of finals week on quarter campuses, and if necessary continuing until the end of Spring employment appointments. If the strike continues to the end of spring quarter appointments, it means that management will inherit the ultimate responsibility of resolving outstanding grades across the entire university system.
Unfair Labor Practices: Management Violates the Law to Deny Access to Protected Union Activity
Since the fall, we have seen an escalating pattern of intimidation and escalation against our members. We have filed 8 separate charges with the Public Employee Relations Board, but the UCs have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of our position and make amends. In this kind of situation, labor law gives us the right to strike to redress violations using our own power as workers. This power is so threatening that many of management’s unfair labor practices (ULPs) were committed in an attempt to intimidate workers and interfere with our right to strike. Here is a summary of some of management’s recent ULPs:
• Arresting members for picketing
• Filing student conduct charges against members for picketing
• Tearing down union posters
• Threatening members with reprisal, saying if you strike, “you will not work in this department again”
• Insisting that legal strikes are illegal and having administrators inform our members of this
• Just this week we filed another ULP because members at UCSD who did strike were docked pay out of proportion to the labor withheld
We will not capitulate to management intimidation. Like other UC unions including AFSCME local 3299, who recently won a contract with the UC despite intimidation, we will stand up for ourselves until we are accorded the respect we deserve. We demand that the UC take immediate action to end repression of union activities at all administrative levels of the university and to fully redress workers affected by management’s unfair practices, including illegal police repression, management intimidation, and employer retaliation.
How to Participate
For those who are working as a teaching assistants, tutors, or readers during the strike: Do not hold sections, grade papers, proctor exams, hold office hours or perform any other work-related duties. Performing any duties while withholding part of your labor can be alleged to be an illegal “partial strike” – so strike safely and strike completely. Complete whatever work you must prior to the strike. It will be the responsibility of UC management and faculty supervisors to make arrangements once your labor is withheld. We will be working with faculty and students to maximize the support we receive from them. We will also be providing additional resources on how to strike safely and legally while maximizing your impact.
For those who are not assigned to work for the duration of the strike: Help the union and colleagues in your department coordinate the strike. We will share ways that you can help generate the support necessary to make our strike effective at redressing the violation of our rights. You may not have the ability to withhold labor during finals week, but you do have the ability to help pull off a historic action that will make clear that student-workers will stand up for themselves if abused.
For everybody: Spread the word. We will be distributing more information that will help you inform your friends and coworkers about participation in the strike, the meaning of the strike, and its impact.
We Will Win
When management engages in illegal activity to stop us from striking, we have an obligation to respond with a strike. When management abuses our rights and expects us to work, they make it clear that they take our labor for granted. Our work is important, our lives are important, and our rights are important. We will defend ourselves and we will win.
Your UC Student-Workers Union Joint Council