UC Worker Strikes Expand to Six Campuses as PERB Declines to Step In

For the second time, the state labor board has rejected the University of California system’s attempt to thwart an academic worker strike led by United Auto Workers Local 4811. The ruling comes as the union prepares a dramatic expansion of the walkout to include thousands of workers at UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Irvine next week. Strikes have already taken place at UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, UC Davis, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Barbara.

The union claims university officials have violated the rights of its members who are protesting the war in Gaza. The strikes were first organized after the forceful removal of protest encampments at UCLA and other campuses.

Just before the union announced the strikes’ expansion Friday, police in riot gear entered the UC Santa Cruz campus and arrested protesters who were blocking an entrance to the school. A UC Santa Cruz official said the protesters were given multiple warnings to end the “dangerous blockade of campus entrances” before police were called in. 

The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has refused to grant injunctive relief against the strikes because it says UC has failed to show “irreparable harm.” According to UC officials, the walk-outs have led to class cancellations and coursework disruption for thousands of students during finals. UC will now take its case to state court. 

A separate question, which has yet to be decided, surrounds the strikes' legality. Deliberations on that question won’t even begin until mid-June.