UC Joins Starbucks and Amazon in Subverting Labor Law, Secures Temporary Restraining Order Against Strike (UAW 4811)

Original online here.

Jun 7 

Written By UAW 4811

“UC academic workers are facing down an attack on our whole movement,” said Rafael Jaime, president of UAW 4811.

Santa Ana—The University of California has convinced an Orange County Superior Court judge to order UAW Local 4811 to halt its unfair labor practice strike until June 27th. Having twice failed to secure an injunction against the lawful strike from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the university today succeeded in their search for a more favorable outcome. This comes after PERB issued a thorough complaint against UC alleging serious unfair labor practices.

The temporary restraining order does not mean that the strike has been ruled “illegal.” Decades of labor law establishing the right of unions to strike over serious unfair labor practices is on our side. Read UCLA law professor Noah Zatz’s analysis here. 

PERB filed its own motion asserting that PERB is the appropriate authority on questions of public sector labor law, and was told by the judge its motion would not be considered at this time. It is nearly unheard-of for public employers to try and sidestep PERB’s jurisdiction when faced with an unfavorable decision. The university’s actions notwithstanding, PERB will retain jurisdiction and set the unfair labor practices for trial.

“UC academic workers are facing down an attack on our whole movement,” said Rafael Jaime, president of UAW 4811, which represents 48,000 academic workers across the UC system. “PERB, the regulatory body with the expertise to rule on labor law, has twice found no grounds to halt our strike. I want to make clear that this struggle is far from over. In the courtroom, the law is on our side and we’re prepared to keep defending our rights — and outside, 48,000 workers are ready for a long fight.”

Veena Dubal, a Professor of Law at the University of California Irvine, wrote in a post on X: “It is pretty darn brazen of UC to go to Superior Ct after PERB TWICE denied them. UC’s actions are not unlike what Starbucks and Amazon are doing in the private sector: attempting to undermine the bodies governing labor law.”

The strike is in response to UC’s serious unfair labor practices, which began on May 1 when the university allowed an angry mob beat peaceful protesters at UCLA, calling in riot police the next night to arrest those protesters who remained. UC has since then made unilateral and dramatic changes to long-standing policies on protest and use of force, then used these changed policies to arrest and discipline hundreds of students and academic workers across the state.

UAW 4811 is the union for academic workers at the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Additional updates will be forthcoming. Follow us online and on social media for the latest.

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