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University of California Faculty Union Begins 'Rolling Strikes' Against Violence vs Protesters

“At the heart of this is our right to free speech and peaceful protest,” said Rafael Jaime, co-president of UAW local 4811, according to the Washington Post. Jaime, who represents 2,000 union members at UC Santa Cruz, continued, “If members of the academic community are maced and beaten down for peacefully demonstrating on this issue, our ability to speak up on all issues is threatened.” The union outlines “unfair labor practices” of violent attacks, calling the police to arrest union members, unilaterally changing working conditions, and eliminating free speech. The school administration argues that these complaints are “non-labor issues” which they claim makes the strike illegal.

Faculty members started what will be a series of strikes across the 10 campuses of the University of California system, which has 280,000 students. The union statewide membership voted last week to authorize the strike. These strikes are expected to disrupt classes, research, and grading as the school semester comes to an end. The union is demanding full amnesty for students and staff and total divestment from the war-profiteers benefiting from the war in Gaza.

As graduations are picking up, many campuses across the country are still in turmoil. At Penn State, 19 students were arrested on May 17 for trying to take over a campus building and three seniors were barred from their commencement ceremony. At Drexel University in Philadelphia the entire campus is technically locked down, but the encampment still remains.