On February 23, 2014, the Director of the Writing Program at UCSC, told a group of union members in his employ, “If you strike, you will not work in this program again.” UAW 2865 then filed the most recent in a series of Unfair Labor Practice Charges (ULPs) focused on retaliation for protected union activity. From threats to international student’s visa status who participate in union activity, to unlawful videoing, and calling legal strikes illegal, the UCs are taking every opportunitiy to try and intimidate its members. In response, the 12,000 front line educators in the UCs represented by the UC Student-Worker Union UAW 2865 filed multiple ULPs and will now be striking from April 2-3.
Over the past several months, the UCs have developed a pattern of intimidation and threats to UAW members. For instance, in the days preceding a November 20, 2013, UCLA management illegally warned international student workers that striking could mean the loss of their work visas. At UC Berkeley, Vice Chancellor Breslauer told deans the strike was illegal and asked that they tell workers “they must meet their scheduled teaching responsibilities.” The UC did not ask the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to rule that the strike was illegal, therefore UAW 2865 filed a charge with PERB over these incidents and is awaiting a preliminary ruling.
On October 29, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz police filmed union members striking. Labor law is very clear: it is unlawful for employers to film protected activities undertaken by employees. UAW 2865 filed ULP charges and PERB issued an initial ruling supporting the claim of an unfair labor practice.
Finally, in the week preceding a potential strike at UC Santa Cruz which was later called off, the director of the Writing Program threatened UAW members, telling them they would not work again in his department if they participated in the upcoming strike. This threat was especially severe because the Writing Program’s hiring is left almost entirely in the director’s hands. He leads a course in which students learn pedagogy and apply for work at the same time, a class which has been the subject of previous complaints regarding the lack of transparency in its process. This is the subject of a ULP in process.
Taken together, this pattern of Unfair Labor Practices has angered UAW members and inspired a strike call. For this two day strike, certain campuses (UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz) will be striking on the first day (Apr. 2) over unfair labor practices that particularly impact members on their campuses. On day two of the strike (Apr. 3), members will join together from all campuses to protest numerous Unfair Labor Practices.