Academic workers at UCLA strike over university’s handling of pro-Palestinian protests

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Academic workers at UCLA strike over university's handling of pro-Palestinian protests

Academic workers at the University of California (UC), Los Angeles, in the U.S. state of California, walked off the job on Tuesday to protest the public university system's handling of pro-Palestinian protests, reported Xinhua.

United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4811, the union of 48,000 academic workers at the ten campuses of the UC system and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, announced Tuesday morning on social media platform X that UC Los Angeles "is officially ON STRIKE."

Over 50 protesters with "UAW on strike" signs were protesting in the middle of Dickson Plaza, reported the university's student newspaper Daily Bruin Tuesday morning, adding that protesters chanted, "L.A. is a union town" and "Whose university? Our university."

Some protesters chanting "Free, free Palestine" were blocking the entrance of a parking structure on campus, according to the student newspaper.

UAW 4811 said on its website that it "was one of the earliest unions in the U.S. to call for a ceasefire and de-escalation of the war in Gaza" and academic workers at UC strongly support the right of the encampment organizers in their right to peacefully demonstrate.

"When faced with Palestine Solidarity encampments and other nonviolent protests by academic workers, students, and community members, UC has mishandled and escalated the situation by taking unlawful actions that cut to the heart of our collective bargaining agreements," the union explained why it voted to authorize a strike, noting that "Our union has filed unfair labor practice charges in response."

Hundreds of UC faculty and staff have been calling on Gene Block, chancellor of UC Los Angeles, to resign over the university's response to pro-Palestinian protests on campus. After a night of violent clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel counter-protesters on UC Los Angeles campus, more than 200 protesters were arrested on May 2 as police moved to dismantle a pro-Palestinian encampment at the university.

Police crackdowns on pro-Palestinian protests at UC San Diego and UC Irvine also led to dozens of arrests, respectively, this month as pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been spreading at colleges and universities across the United States amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

The UC Los Angeles strike is part of a rolling strike systemwide by the academic workers' union. UC Davis academic workers will also join strikes on Tuesday.

Academic workers at UC Santa Cruz walked off the job last Monday, becoming the first UC campus to stand up and withhold their labor.


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