U.C. Santa Cruz Workers to Strike Over Protest Crackdowns

Academic workers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will go on strike starting on Monday to protest the university system’s handling of pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the workers’ union announced on Friday.

The union, U.A.W. 4811, which is part of the United Auto Workers, represents about 48,000 graduate students and other academic workers at 10 University of California system campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

According to the union, about 2,000 members work at Santa Cruz as teaching assistants, tutors and researchers. The walkout would not last beyond June 30, said Rafael Jaime, the U.A.W. 4811 president. But it could still seriously complicate coursework for the spring quarter, which ends on June 13. Nearly 20,000 students were enrolled at the school as of last fall.

“U.A.W. academic workers are standing up to go on strike in response to the university’s crackdown on our fundamental rights to free speech and protest on campus,” Mr. Jaime said on Friday. “The university has committed a number of unfair labor practices against workers in our union.”

The announcement comes two days after University of California academic workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize the union to call for a strike. The union said it had called the vote because the university system had unilaterally and unlawfully changed policies regarding free speech, discriminated against pro-Palestinian speech and created an unsafe work environment by allowing attacks on protesters, among other grievances.

About two weeks ago, dozens of counterprotesters attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, for several hours without police intervention. Officers in riot gear tore down the encampment the next day and arrested more than 200 people.

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