Police were called by the school administration and joined forces with pro-Israel counter-protesters to suppress camped-out UCLA students and staff.

This Wednesday (15), the union representing academic workers at the University of California announced the authorization of a work stoppage in response to the government’s crackdown on Gaza protests on university campuses. 79% of the assembly votes were in favor of the strike. In April, several North American universities were the scene of pro-Palestinian acts. In some, camps were set up and there were clashes with the police.

Members of United Auto Workers Local 4811, representing more than 48,000 academic workers, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers, voted to approve a strike following the arrest of hundreds of protesters, including union members, at UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles) and at the University of California at San Diego in recent weeks.

While the authorization vote does not guarantee an immediate strike, local union leaders have said they have the prerogative to call a work stoppage at any time. If the union decides to go on strike, classes and research at the 10 campuses that make up the University of California system could face major disruptions as many institutions are ending the academic year.

A strike at the University of California would be a significant escalation of tensions that have emerged as universities across the country punish students for pro-Palestinian activism and turn to authorities to remove protest camps.

“We held this vote because the university has committed a series of unfair practices violations against members of our union and violated our fundamental right to free speech and protest on campus,” said Rafael Jaime, co-president of UAW Local 4811.

Heather Hansen, a spokeswoman for the University of California, expressed concern about the precedent of allowing strikes over political and social disputes, arguing that it would have a significant impact on UC’s ability to fulfill its promises to students, the community and the state of California. .

Tensions rose following an April 30 incident at UCLA, where pro-Palestine protesters were attacked by counterprotesters at a camp. The following night, Los Angeles police dismantled the camp and arrested 210 people.

The authorization of the strike comes amid accusations of unfair labor practices brought forward by the union following the arrests. The UAW accuses the university of interfering with employees’ right to participate in peaceful workplace protests and of violating labor rights by suspending student workers who were arrested.

The union is demanding that the university resolve these allegations and negotiate with the protesters, granting amnesty to all campus employees and students facing discipline and arrest, and divest from companies linked to Israel in the Gaza conflict.

Local UAW leaders have approved a “stand-up strike,” modeled after limited strikes held against Detroit automakers last year. If the strike is implemented, the union plans to call on individual campuses to walk away from work, rather than a complete walkout at all sites at once.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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