Student Workers Union to ‘Maximize Chaos’ at UC Campuses After Pro-Palestinian Protest Crackdown

Pro-Palestine Protest
by Micaiah Bilger


The University of California graduate students union plans to “maximize chaos and confusion” on campuses in opposition to administrators’ responses to pro-Palestinian protesters in recent weeks, a UAW 4811 leader said.

On Wednesday, the union voted to authorize a strike on UC campuses, it announced on X. UAW 4811 represents 48,000 graduate and undergraduate student workers and researchers.

The union alleges UC leaders’ recent actions against its members during pro-Palestinian protests amount to “intimidation and retaliation” and violate their “rights as academic employees to free speech, protest, and collective action.”

Rafael Jaime, co-president of the union and a graduate student worker in UC Los Angeles’ English department, told the Los Angeles Times union members want to “maximize chaos and confusion” in response to these alleged violations.

“After the events of April 30 and May 1, when the university brutally suppressed peaceful protests and violated our right to free speech, protest and collective action, we are left with no other choice” but to strike, Jaime wrote in an op-ed Wednesday in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s campus newspaper.

Jamie, one of the protesters at UCLA, criticized the university for sending “police in riot gear to tear down the Palestine solidarity encampment and use stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.”

“In all these instances, UCLA administration’s response violated their obligations to protect students and workers’ right to free speech and freedom from discrimination for their political viewpoints. Under existing university policy, employees have the right to engage in peaceful protest on campus,” Jamie wrote.

Along with UCLA, the union also criticized UC San Diego and UC Irvine for their responses to pro-Palestinian student protesters, according to the LA Times.

“Our members have been beaten, concussed, pepper sprayed, both by counter-protesters and by police forces. As a union, it is our responsibility to stand beside them,” it said in a statement.

The union said student workers also want UC to consider their concerns about its investments “in companies and industries profiting off of the suffering in Gaza.”

Responding, UC spokesperson Heather Hansen told the LA Times the union’s actions set “a dangerous precedent that would introduce non-labor issues into labor agreements.”

The university system also believes the strike is illegal, according to a letter it sent Wednesday to student union members.

“And, unlike a protected strike, you could be subject to corrective action for failing to perform your duties,” the letter stated, according to the LA Times.

Earlier this month, riot police cleared out a pro-Palestinian encampment and arrested hundreds of protesters at UCLA, The Fix reported. Afterward, photos and videos online showed massive amounts of trash in the lawn and vandalism on university buildings.

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Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor for The College Fix.
Photo “Pro-Palestine Protest” by Becker1999 CC2.0



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