Judge Orders Halt to UC Academic Workers Union Strike Amid Concerns for Student Education

UC Santa Barbara employees with the UAW union go on strike on June 3, 2024 (Photo: courtesy / UAW 4811)
UC Santa Barbara employees with the UAW union go on strike on June 3, 2024 (Photo: courtesy / UAW 4811)

An Orange County Superior Court Judge ruled in favor of the University of California (UC) on Friday, ordering the union representing UC academic workers to temporarily halt their strike at six campuses.

Judge Randall J. Sherman’s decision came after UC argued that the strike was causing “irreparable harm” to students and university operations, particularly during the crucial period of finals.

The court hearing, lasting approximately an hour, discussed the impacts of the strike on student academics as UC officials raised concerns about potential setbacks to students’ academic achievements and research projects.

“We are extremely grateful for a pause in this strike so our students can complete their academic studies. The strike would have caused irreversible setbacks to students’ academic achievements and may have stalled critical research projects in the final quarter,” said Melissa Matella, UC associate vice president for systemwide labor relations, in a statement.

The ruling does not resolve the question of whether the strike breaches contractual agreements, an issue central to UC’s lawsuit against the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) 4811, the union representing 48,000 academic workers across campuses.

While the union has vowed to continue fighting for their rights in and out of the courtroom, UC officials expressed gratitude for the decision, emphasizing the importance of allowing students to complete their academic studies uninterrupted.

Despite previous failed attempts by UC to stop the strike through state channels, the recent court order has put a pause on the union’s strike activities ahead of a scheduled hearing on June 27.

Academic workers returned to work this past Monday for finals week to stay in compliance with the court order just as protests escalated at UC Santa Barbara.

A group of demonstrators named “Say Genocide UCSB” took over Girvetz Hall on Monday as finals week kicked off.

UCSB administrators are working on rescheduling and relocating final exams that were scheduled in Girvetz.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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2 Comments

  1. Unions are chartered by law to work the issues of wages, hours,and working conditions, not to protect members from charges of criminal conduct. I think this is a loser for the UAW, even with a liberal Labor Relations Board.

  2. Having been a member of the UAW while in grad school at UCSB, I always found it a bit odd that we were represented by the United Auto Workers. Seems like that union went “corporate.” Don’t understand what grad students have in common with welders except that they both have employers.

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Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies respond to protesters who occupied Girvetz Hall at UCSB on June 12, 2024 (Photo: @ucsbliberatedzone/Instagram)

Law Enforcement Responds to Occupation of Girvetz Hall at UC Santa Barbara