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UC-AFT Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Over Use of Force at Campus Protests



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: UC-AFT Joins UC-UAW in Filing Unfair Labor Practice Charges Related to Use of Force in Campus Responses to Student Protests

Media contacts:

UC-AFT President Katie Rodger (408-623-2601)

UC-AFT VP of Organizing Josh Brahinsky (609-558-7470)

UC-AFT Communications Chair Caroline Luce (860-778-8580)

UC-AFT (University of California-American Federation of Teachers), which represents 6,500 teaching faculty and librarians at the University of California campuses, has filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the University of California administration, joining their fellow academic workers of UAW 4811.

Charges include the university’s failure to maintain safe working conditions, disregarding the free speech rights of its employees, and unilateral decision making regarding changes in their working conditions in responding to recent campus protests at UCLA and UCSD. Several union members were arrested while attempting to protect their students against violent police responses to the encampments and others denied access to their offices and forced to move their courses online on extremely short notice. Local chapters have called for amnesty for those arrested and have joined their senate faculty allies in calling for votes of no confidence in their campus administrations. UC-AFT’s ULP filing may be amended or additional charges filed as needed to protect members and ensure that contractual rights are upheld on all UC campuses.

As stated in the filing, the union alleges that the university has violated written policies and practices for maintaining a safe environment for students and employees by sending hundreds of armed riot police to disrupt protests. As leaders of the UCLA Chapter described, “The administration’s actions have obstructed teaching, learning, and research at our university and subjected lecturers, K-12 educators, and librarians, as well as our students, to multiple instances of violence, profoundly curtailing our academic freedom and rights to free speech.”

UC-AFT President Katie Rodger notes that while the ULP filing could lead to a strike authorization vote in the future, the union is currently focused on protecting its members’ rights. “This ULP is intended to bolster the protections our members have to continue their expression of free speech and make our campuses safer,” Rodger said. “We will continue to talk together about the possibilities of future labor actions.” UCAFT is currently conducting member surveys, town hall meetings, and other democratic decision-making processes to determine what future actions they will take, including how they will honor the picket lines of their UAW colleagues.

During the previous UAW strike in 2022, university administrators implied in their messaging to the lecturers and librarians that they could not protect the welfare of their students while supporting their fellow academic workers and colleagues, a false opposition that UC-AFT members reject. Members were asked by their departments to take on large amounts of additional work, including grading assignments, convening discussion sections, and other work responsibilities of their teaching assistants. Excluded from discussions surrounding choices to close campus facilities and move instruction online, many were forced to make agonizing decisions about whether to cancel student performances, classes, and events without university guidance. Then, after the strike was settled, members were told to participate in their surveillance of striking coworkers and to file reports about their participation in the strike that would have denied them wages and caused them additional harm.

The ULP filing aims to provide more protection for lecturers, librarians, and K-12 teachers as the UAW 4811’s “Stand Up” strike begins so that these abuses do not happen again. It aims to ensure that members retain their control over course design, to protect their rights of free speech and academic freedom outlined in their collective bargaining agreements, and to ensure their campuses remain safe working and learning environments for all.

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Press Release PDF
Unfair Labor Practice Charge