PERB Unfair Practice Charge 5-3-2024 (UAW 4811)

University employees represented by UAW Local 4811 should not be forcibly arrested and deprived of their very liberty for participating in a non-violent political protest on campus. Yet, that is the outrageous and extreme course of action that the Regents of the University of California (“University” or “UC”) has followed at UCLA to suppress the speech of its workers who are engaged in concerted activity relating to their terms and conditions of employment.

The University requested this forceful police intervention against peaceful employee protesters one day after it shamefully allowed and condoned a violent attack against the same peaceful protesters by a large mob of anti-Palestinian attackers, waiting over two hours after the attack began before requesting police intervention. This disparate, content-based favoritism of anti-Palestine conduct over pro-Palestine speech is an affront to the rights of employees to engage in peaceful protest.

The University’s conduct violated the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (“HEERA” or the “Act”) prohibition on retaliating against employees for engaging in concerted actions related working conditions. In addition to standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine, the employees were demanding numerous workplace-related changes. These included creating an employee personal conscious right to opt out of participation in military-funded research as part of employment; opposing the discrimination and hostile work environment directed towards Palestinian, Muslim, and pro-Palestine Jewish employees and students; and requesting the disclosure and divestment of University funds from Israel’s war effort. By summoning the police to forcibly arrest these employees, the University has violated their employee rights under HEERA.

The University’s conduct further constitutes an unlawful departure and unilateral change from its existing workplace free speech policies without providing notice or bargaining. In doing so, it violated its policy of content neutrality toward speech by favoring those engaged in antiPalestine speech over those engaged in pro-Palestine speech. It went further by unilaterally changing workplace policies by prohibiting pro-Palestine speech at the worksite. UCLA used its powers to not only change policy but then, in an unprecedented act, used brute force and police intervention to prevent students and workers from exercising what have been historic rights at the University.

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