What does it mean to STRIKE for divestment? (Pay Us More UCSC)[UAW 4811 Strike]

Original online here.

The Joint Council of our union passed a platform of demands. Most of them are plain as day: drop all charges; disclose all funding sources and investments; make transitional funding available for workers who want to pivot out of labs and projects funded by the DoD.

The headline demand, however, the one that speaks to the national movement, is less transparent: “Divestment from UC’s known investments in weapons manufacturers, military contractors, and companies profiting from Israel’s war on Palestine.”

Workers are nothing if not realistic. When we walk off the job, we must have a clear sense of what we are striking to win. How big is the demand? How much force is required to push the boss? Here is what our new bargaining team can demand of UCOP:

1. Divest the $5.9 million of its endowment directly invested in Exxon Mobil, Honeywell, General Electric, and Coca-Cola. These are either arms manufacturers (Honeywell designs cluster bombs and missile systems) or featured in the WhoProfits database as beneficiaries of the war.

Restructure the roughly $3.5 billion of indirect investments (money invested in index funds) in military contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Group, and Northrop Grumman.

This would require UC to seek a custom fund specifying criteria that avoids weapons manufacturers and beneficiaries of Palestinian oppression—just as they did with fossil fuels.

These demands are concrete, meaningful, and winnable. They align with living histories of labor and student movements for divestment, within and beyond the university. They resemble UC’s past commitments to divest from South Africa in 1986 and Sudan in 2006.

Urge your new bargaining team representatives—the new Unit Chair and Recording Secretary—to push these divestment demands when they sit down with UCOP’s negotiators.

Until that time, organize a meeting in your department to discuss the strike vote (open May 13-15). Figure out who is working in what class and lab. Assess your numbers and prepare for the reality of a work stoppage. Vote Yes in the SAV. Join the picket. Strike to win.

We are part of a national movement. It’s time to bring the strike weapon to the divestment fight.

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