Faced with brutal police and vigilante attacks against encampments on University of California system campuses, the union representing 48,000 UC graduate students has authorized a strike. United Auto Workers Local 4811 has pointed out that the cop brutality, which university administrations are complicit in, is a worker safety issue. The strike vote concluded on May 15, with an overwhelming majority favoring the strike.

Student workers at University of California Santa Cruz launch strike against police attacks on Palestine Solidarity Encampments

On May 20, 1,500 student workers at UC Santa Cruz took to the picket lines.

Whether or not the strike spreads, the vote is significant, as it builds unity between the courageous student encampment movement and campus workers. Making police violence a union issue expands the scope of labor demands beyond traditional bargaining subjects such as wages and benefits. The strike brings the union deeper into the movement for divestment from the Israeli genocidal apartheid state.

Some union members are calling on Local 4811 to take the struggle even further and demand “Cops off campus!”

UAW Local 4811, formerly Local 2865, has waged several strikes in recent years over economic issues and Unfair Labor Practices. In 2014, Local 2865 was the first UAW local to pass a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

Martha Grevatt

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Martha Grevatt

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