UC Santa Barbara Academic Workers Strike Over Palestine Protests

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)

Academic workers at the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) went on strike on Monday, protesting against the University of California’s (UC) alleged unfair labor practices concerning the UC’s response to pro-Palestinian protests and encampments on its campuses.

The strikers are represented by the United Auto Workers Local 4811 (UAW) union and include student workers, teaching assistants, and graduate students.

The UAW Executive Board authorized three more campuses on May 31 to join the strike, bringing the total number of academic workers called to strike across the UC system to 31,500, which includes 3,000 from UCSB.

The strike action follows a union-wide vote held from May 13-15, in which an overwhelming majority of academic workers at UC voted to certify the UAW Executive Board’s authority to call stand-up strikes when necessary.

According to the UAW, some of the UC’s unfair labor practices include the violent ejection and arrest of pro-Palestinian protesters at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and UCLA, using an outside law enforcement response.

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)

The UC has yet to remedy these serious allegations against its policies on employee speech and discipline, states the UAW in a press release.

In response to the strike, the University of California filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board and issued a complaint against UAW for what it called the union’s unlawful strike activity.

UC highlighted that labor withheld during the strike would be considered leave without pay, and workers who do not report their absences properly or refuse to perform their duties during an unlawful strike could face corrective action.

“For the last month, UC has used and condoned violence against workers and students peacefully protesting on campus for peace and freedom in Palestine,” Rafael Jaime, president of UAW Local 4811, said last week in a statement.

“Rather than put their energies into resolution, UC is attempting to halt the strike through legal procedures. They have not been successful, and this strike will roll on. We are united in our demand that UC address these serious ULPs, beginning with dropping all criminal and conduct charges that have been thrown at our members because they spoke out against injustice.”

The Public Employment Relations Board rejected the UC request on Monday. UC officials stated they plan to file a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

“We are disappointed that the state agency dedicated to the oversight of public employment could not take decisive and immediate action to end this unlawful strike — a decision that harms UC’s students who are nearing the end of their academic year,” said Melissa Matella, UC associate vice president for Systemwide Labor Relations, in a statement. “Now that UC has exhausted the PERB process for injunctive relief, UC will move to state court and is hopeful for quick and decisive action so that our students can end their quarter with their focus on academics.”

UAW is asking UC’s to provide amnesty to students and employees facing disciplinary actions for protesting, guarantee freedom of speech and political expression, and to divest funding sources tied to the Israeli Defense Forces.

UCSB employees that are part of the UAW have been on strike since Monday, June 3.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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    • When the Nazi’s attacked the world and we then we carpet bombed millions of innocent German men, women and children (just as innocent as the Palestinians) how is that different? We were treated as heroes. Same with Japan.

      • Hi Alex
        I was trying to be brief, but you are absolutely right in your descriptions.
        None of this war, killing, destruction would be happening if Hamas had not committed the atrocities you describe. I actually feel very very strongly about Hamas and feel they have also put into motion events that also have caused innocent Palestinians to die as well.
        When Hamas attacked on October 7th, they overran an Israeli military facility, killed many soldiers, burned equipment, took prisoners- war is horrible, but within the boundaries of war it was combatant on combatant and all was fair. But then they- Hamas- also executed Israel soldier/prisoners and filmed themselves doing so. War crime. They – Hamas-raped female Israeli soldiers (they probably filmed this too, just haven’t been able to stomach watching that one) War crime. Hamas filmed themselves torturing Israeli soldiers-war crime. Hamas fighters hiding amongst civilians and in hospitals- war crime. I know this sounds heartless, cruel, but I do not care one bit if Hamas fighters die and good riddance.

    • EDNEY – absolutely 100%.

      Unfortunately, many here and all over the world are unable or unwilling to distinguish between being pro-Palestinian and being pro-Hamas, assuming being the former is the same as the latter. It’s frustrating.

      Misinformation has also played a huge role. Just today the news broke that Israel was feeding US lawmakers false info through fake social media accounts in order to gain financial backing for their war. Not ok.

      • And also all of the Hamas misinformation. Not ok, right?

        Or is that “whataboutism”.

        Hey, by the way, remember in 2014 when Gaza based terrorists crossed the border and carried out a terrorist attack in Egypt and Egypt responded by bombing Rafah and threatening to demolish the city to create a demilitarized “safe zone” so that Hamas wouldn’t be able to do that? And they demolished houses, etc., etc..

        I know, I know, “what about”.

        They did what Israel is doing, though on a smaller scale. But no Jews, no news. Enjoy the read:

        “President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had taken office in June 2014 after orchestrating the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsy the year before, said in a speech on national television the day after the attack that Egypt was fighting a war “for its existence.” He declared a three-month state of emergency in most of North Sinai and convened the National Defense Council and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which agreed on a plan to establish a “secure zone” along the Gaza border. Five days after the attack, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb issued a decree ordering the “isolation” and “evacuation” of 79 square kilometers stretching along the entire Gaza border and extending between five and seven kilometers into the Sinai. The buffer zone encompassed all of Rafah, a town of some 78,000 people that lies directly on the border, as well as significant agricultural land around the town.

        Egyptian authorities justified the buffer zone as a way to defeat the insurgency by shutting down the smuggling tunnels that they said allowed fighters and weapons to pass from Gaza to the Sinai. Since 2007, Gaza, which is governed by the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, has been under a strict Israeli blockade. For most of this period, Egypt has cooperated in the blockade by severely restricting the flow of people and goods between Gaza and the Sinai. Tunnels have served as a key supply line between the two sides.

        Egyptian officials described the buffer zone as a way to clear the border area for military operations and eliminate this supply line. A statement on the Defense Ministry’s website described the zone as a way to “finally eliminate the problem” of tunnels, “one of the main sources” for armed groups to enter Sinai and supply insurgents with “arms and ammunition.” Maj. Gen. Abd al-Fattah Harhour, the governor of North Sinai, said the decree was intended “to defend Egypt from terrorism.” One advisor to the military’s Commanders and Staff College told a newspaper that the buffer zone would have two benefits: putting the zone under military court jurisdiction and clearing it of civilians, so that it would “be regarded as an open theater.””

  1. sacjon, I agree with you that bringing up Assad can be seen as whataboutism, but lets talk sincerely about the discrepancy within the context that Syria and Gaza are less than 300 miles apart and both share a border with Israel. Lets take into account the huge body count in Syria conducted by Russian imperialists and Assad because it is a tragedy whose body count dwarfs that in Gaza, but no one cares. Its like when a white girl goes missing and is found killed and black people say “hey, its a tragedy, but why is there only an uproar and its all up in the media when it is a white girl? Black girls go missing too” We don’t scold black people for “whataboutism”, we engage in self reflection and promise ourselves to do better.

    • EDNEY – ” no one cares” – that’s not true at all. Just because there are far more protests and news about Gaza, doesn’t mean no one cares about Syria. I think the HUGE difference between these two is the extent of US involvement in addition to the massive blowbacks against those standing up for the people of Gaza, which only fuels the protestors even more. Protestors are being fired, suspended, doxxed, physically assaulted and labeled as “antisemites” for voicing opposition to Israel’s handling of the war or opposing the continued US funding and complacency in the deaths of thousands of innocent children. This is not the same with Syria. We support the rebels fighting Assad, who is killing civilians. In Gaza, I think the public is more upset as we (the US) support the side that, since Oct 8, is killing civilians. Yes, of course Hamas brutally killed and raped innocent civilians on Oct 7, but the anger seems to be that Israel has killed over tenfold the amount of innocents and the US has given them the weapons to do so. This is my opinion on why the pro-Palestinian protests are so numerous and invigorated. In other words, we support the “good guys” in both conflicts, but in Gaza, the “good guy” is doing terrible things.

      Please note, by saying this, I am in NO WAY saying Israel doesn’t have the right to defend itself or in any way diminishing what Hamas did. I’m simply trying to put into perspective what I think is the reason for the difference in public protest and news coverage of said protests. Despite this note, I’m sure someone will come in guns a blazing about how I “support Hamas” or “hate Jews” or some ignorant tripe. Not true at all.

      So yeah, there is a pretty significant difference in public outcry between Gaza and Syria, but I think there’s some simple reasons behind that.

      Again, DISCLAIMER (since I know Alex will jump all over this): What Hamas did on Oct 7 is criminal, horrendous, cowardly, evil and disgusting. I will always maintain that. However, that does not excuse in my mind how Israel is responding and how blindly the US is supporting it.

      • Thanks sacjon
        I have been trying not to fill my posts with stuff like “no one cares” and words like “all” “everyone” etc because those words screw up the conversation. I still do it, but am working on it. Thanks for your response. I do appreciate conversations with people and most disagreements I have are usually minor- except when I’ve used language that is disagreeable, so I am working on that. I like conversation and if everyone always agreed with me I’d probably never learn anything

        I’ve got a not so fun fact about Russia and Syria. Doctors Without Borders was giving out coordinates of facilities within Syria where it was operating and providing medical care to people who were wounded. They stopped giving out coordinates because Russia was using those coordinates for precision munition attacks on their hospitals and clinics

        • EDNEY – I agree, it’s great to have civil conversations with folks who are able to discuss and even disagree. It’s frustrating when it devolves into spats and I’m no saint in that arena, but I’m trying!

    • An edit function would be so great here!

      I meant to add after the part about how pro-Palestinian protestors are being “attacked” that this is why the news is covering it so much. The news about the protests is largely centered around the response from schools, employers, the public against these protests. This controversial subject is just news fodder. You don’t see the same thing about Syria. It’s just not news. But that doesn’t mean no one cares.

  2. Aaaaand it looks like Hezbollah is really deciding that they want that smoke. So now the college students will have an opportunity to protest for a “Free Lebanon”.

    So tragic. All these naive and completely bamboozled fools out there that truly believe Israel is coming to the end of its existence and that Allah is going to wipe them from the map. That the descendants of the displaced and ethnically cleansed Palestinians will return to their grandparents’ homes throughout Israel. That they are going to “have it all”, “from the river to the sea”. That they don’t need to figure out how to live in peace because the Palestinian cause will achieve all their goals through violence.

    The reality is that only Israel can really stop Israel. And the more that Hamas fights on, and the more that Iran puppeteers Hezbollah and draws them into a wider war, the worse it will get and the longer Netanyahu will cling to office. And in reality as well, Israel can fight on their own for a very long time. They haven’t even begun to hit their capacity. And, of course, even worse, if the IDF goes hard in Lebanon, and it looks more like they will, that will DECREASE their ability to fight with restraint and that will INCREASE far more indiscriminate methods.

    Completely. Deluded.

    Sure would be nice if the folks in power on either side actually wanted peace. None of them do.

    • You, like many easily swayed people, ignorantly repeat the falsehood that Israel is committing “genocide”.

      You don’t seem to know what the word means.

      Seven months in. Complete military dominance. If they were committing genocide there would be a million or more dead civilians.

      But keep on spreading woke falsehoods.

      • Gaza has a very high density of population
        Article titled: Tiny, cramped and as densely populated as London
        https://apnews.com/article/israel-gaza-hamas-war-90e02d26420b8fe3157f73c256f9ed6a
        14,000 per square mile, but if you google a satellite view of Gaza you will actually some farms, orchards and open spaces that are not built out, so the density is actually much worse.
        If Israel had wanted to commit genocide over the past 7 months they could have easily killed 100’s of thousands. If I wanted to commit genocide within a war, I’d never use a 150lb precision weapon when a dozen 2000lb bombs might accomplish the same task. In Syria when the Russians were taking fire from one apartment building, they’d level the building and the entire 4-6 blocks surrounding it. “Just to make sure” . Precision weapons are expensive and in any event Russians are under no legal obligations to use them. War is supposed to be conducted in a way that minimizes civilian casualties but the what Russians did and are doing is/was technically OK even though abhorrently immoral.

        Israel uses a practice called “roof knocking” I will link to below. The only reason to use roof knocking is to prevent civilian deaths and if I was trying to commit genocide, I’d never even have considered the practice much less invented it. 2000lbs smart bomb obliterates the block and the targeted person. Who the hell warns people
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roof_knocking

        • Exactly correct, Edney.

          What’s happening is horrible, tragic, sad, heartbreaking and possibly preventable. But it is absolutely, categorically, not genocide and people who use that terms either don’t understand what the word means or are intentionally spreading a lie in order to demonize the Israeli government and Jews.

          The Israeli has done plenty wrong, in fact more than enough for people to resort to lies and doing so only makes the issue more intractable.

      • I completely disagree with this Alex guy – bombing, starving-out, and killing civilian kids and families left and right who are not at all involved in this is sadistic and genocidal. When, as you say – and we all already know – you obviously have the complete militaristic advantage and yet you keep destroying people, families, and communities left and right, well … what WOULD you call that?

        “Easily-swayed”? I don’t think so. Your guy should be held accountable. His name is Netenyahu. He’s royally screwed up. If Biden keeps supporting him, we’ll likely have a new leader of the free world come November.

  3. If I had a kid in one of these school protests, I would not need the police to yank them out; I WOULD DO IT!
    SacJon, how do you feel about all the citizens injured or killed in Berlin from US bombings? Israel is at WAR and collateral damage happens. They are the most noble in modern history at warning civilians in enemy territory and have given Billions to Gaza in AID. Sadly, Hamas hasn’t helped its one people, just dug tunnels and weapons.
    The Jews want to be left alone. They haven’t stolen any land; they PURCHASED land!!
    The innocents who were raped, maimed, tortured and killed deserve justice.
    I pray for the hostages…

    • ANON – you’d seriously deny your own child an education because they exercised their 1st Amendment rights and voiced support for an end to the killing of thousands of children? Wow, Parent of Year LOL!

      Berlin? Dresden? War crimes. Shameful acts by the US, same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not sure what your point is though as that has nothing do with this.

      “They are the most noble in modern history at warning civilians in enemy territory” – in no sense of the English language is that even close to right. Just take 2 seconds to read the news on any day since October 8.

      Do you also pray for the thousands of Palestinian children who have been maimed and killed by Israel? Just curious how religious you actually are.

  4. I hope this story is interesting
    I have a friend who was part of the the Iraq war and he was assigned to a group that approved targets.
    They had a JAG lawyer and others in the room, and their job was to review targets and mitigate collateral damage within the larger context of keeping American and coalition combatants alive.
    So there was a guy who would periodically climb up onto the roof of an apartment complex in some Iraqi town and snipe at troops knowing they wouldn’t want to bomb the whole building. He or she wasn’t very good at it, but sooner or later was going to hit someone.
    They always had jet bombers on call above that carried multiple types of bombs at a time and they outfitted one of them with a “roof knocker”. The person climbs up there, starts shooting, they send the coordinates, pilot downloads them to the weapon and ends the problem with only minor collateral damage to the roof

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