Judge temporarily halts UC academic staff strike over Gaza war

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of striking University of California faculty members were ordered by a state judge Friday to temporarily end their weeks-long strike against the Gaza war.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Randall J. Sherman issued the injunction after UC lawyers argued that the continuing strike would cause irreversible harm to students ahead of their final exams.

The university system filed suit against United Auto Workers Local 4811 on Tuesday, despite the fact that either side have competing unfair labor practice lawsuits pending before the California Public Employment Relations Board, which has twice declined to issue a preliminary injunction.

The union, which represents 48,000 graduate students who work as teaching assistants, tutors, researchers and other academic staff on UC’s 10-campus system, began its Strike on May 20 in Santa CruzThe strike has since Expansion to UC campuses in Davis and Los AngelesIrvine, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Melissa Matella, assistant vp for labor relations, expressed gratitude for the order and said in an announcement that the continuing strike would have disrupted students' learning and potentially halted necessary research projects. Officials say the strike has nothing to do with employment conditions and violates the union's collective bargaining agreement.

However, the union is protesting against the treatment of its members, a few of whom have been arrested and forcibly ejected by the police. at demonstrations for an end in regards to the war within the Gaza Strip.

Rebecca Gross, a UC Santa Cruz doctoral student and union leader, said Friday they’d conduct a survey of rank-and-file employees to debate tips on how to proceed.

“The fight is not over,” she said. “It has not really been confirmed yet … that what we are doing here is in any way illegal.”

On May 1, police in riot gear ordered the dispersal of over a thousand individuals who had gathered on campus in support of Palestine, threatening that those that refused to depart would face arrest. The night before, police had waited to intervene when counter-protesters attacked the pro-Palestinian camp, causing injuries.

Pro-Palestinian protests have rocked campuses across the US and Europe, as students demand that their universities stop doing business with Israel or firms that support its war effort.

Police arrested Protesters at Stanford University after occupying the varsity president's office for several hours on Wednesday. Officials said the protesters caused massive vandalism inside and out of doors the constructing.

image credit : www.mercurynews.com