Letter from Union Members to UCSC Faculty

Dear Faculty,

On Wednesday morning (Apr. 2), members of UAW 2865, the union that represents Teaching Assistants at nine UC campuses went on strike to stand up for their rights and to protest a pattern of intimidation and harassment of campus workers around the state. This has included threats to the visa statuses of international students who participate in union activities, unlawful videoing of demonstrators, and calling legal strikes illegal. On the UCSC campus, two particularly egregious violations of labor law that constitute unfair labor practices have included the filming of lawful picketers in October 2013, and a threat by one administrator to withhold future employment if union members participated in a legally sanctioned strike planned for March 2014. The UC has proved time and time again that it will say anything to prevent student-workers from exercising their rights.

Today, the university administration responded with further intimidation. They proved they will do whatever is necessary to prevent student-workers from exercising their right to lawfully picket as part of a strike against UC’s unfair labor practices.

The administration strategically chose to escalate our peaceful, lawful picket.
Riot police were imported from UC Berkeley prior to the demonstrations. The Berkeley police are known for their willingness to physically assault both students and faculty at peaceful demonstrations. Wearing riot helmets, and resting their hands on their weapons, police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest. First, police blocked both entrances to the crosswalk; then they said we could be in the crosswalk only when the “walk” sign was on, yet they had shut it off. Officers then said that we couldn’t be on the sidewalk near the west entrance, even though these details were not contained in any dispersal order. This mixed messaging was clearly part of a tactic to quash a legal, peaceful picket by instilling fear among demonstrators that they might be arrested at any time merely by being in the vicinity of the protest. This indicates that the UC administration has and will employ nefarious strategies that intimidate workers and limit our rights to peaceful, lawful picketing.

The administration deprived UAW members of our legal right to picket.
Shortly after union members and undergraduate allies gathered at the western entrance, they were confronted by riot police. A union leader was specifically targeted after communicating to administrators that the picket was about to begin. He introduced himself to Executive Vice Chancellor Galloway, and informed her that he was going to be exercising his right to picket, but that he would not be standing in front of cars or blocking traffic. Shortly after this encounter, he was tackled to the ground by police and arrested, along with a photographer who was documenting the incident. He had clearly stated that he was not going to block any cars, and he would be walking in the crosswalk. We have video footage of this arrest. Riot cops then proceeded to arrest 18 more students and union members.

Students are now entangled in the legal system.
As of 6pm, all of the arrested demonstrators have been released. Their court date is set for May 6, 8:15am, in SC Superior Court. We are in contact with NLG Bay Area and Monterey, and we should have details on our legal representation by Monday.

Charges include: 2800 non-compliance with a peace officer order/2800A failure or refusal to comply with order; 602.1 interference with lawful business or public agency; 21954A pedestrian outside of crosswalk 148A1 resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer. Please note: The language of 602.1 includes (c) This section shall not apply to any of the following persons:(1) Any person engaged in lawful labor union activities that are permitted to be carried out on the property by state or federal law. (2) Any person on the premises who is engaging in activities protected by the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.

What can you do? Here are some ideas:

Please come out to the picket line at 6am on Thursday, and encourage your students to as well! We need to send the university a strong message that we will NOT tolerate this kind of intimidation of students and workers. With more people present, these intimidation tactics become less effective. We would love to have faculty join us. If they come to observe, that is wonderful. If they want to join the picket line, even better! Please don’t cross our picket lines, we put a lot of effort into working with you to provide education for our students, and to create knowledge with you. We are fighting for a better UC, and better working conditions. It’s especially demeaning to see faculty cross the picket line.

Come to the Drop the Charges Rally at the base of campus at 10:00 am, and encourage your students to attend as well. We need a strong presence to show the administration that the campus community rejects these tactics of intimidation.

Email or call EVC Galloway (831) 459-3885 and leave a message demanding that all charges against these peaceful demonstrators be dropped and that the university stop the illegal intimidation of our picket lines. Write a personal letter to Galloway and Blumenthal highlighting, for example, the level of discipline, intimidation and exploitation the teaching assistants face, the militarization of our campus, union-busting, and attacks on students’ freedom of assembly and expression.

We thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Erin R. Ellison, PhD Candidate, Psychology and UAW 2865 member
Rachel Fabian, PhD Candidate, Ocean Sciences and UAW 2865 member
Robert Majzler, PhD Candidate, Psychology and UAW 2865 member
Nick Kalivoda, PhD Student, Linguistics and UAW 2865 member
Sophie Rollins, PhD Candidate, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Clara Sherley-Appel, PhD student, Linguistics and UAW 2865 member
Sara Blaylock, PhD Candidate, Visual Studies and UAW 2865 member
Asad Haider, PhD Candidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Juan Diego Prieto, PhD Student, Politics and UAW 2865 member
Jeff Sherman, PhD Student, Politics and UAW 2865 member
SA Smythe, PhD Student, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Meenoo Kohli, PhD Candidate, Sociology and UAW 2865 member
Devon Hollowood, PhD Student, Physics and UAW 2865 member
Patrick Madden, PhD Candidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Mario Diaz-Perez,  PhD Candidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Evan Grupsmith, PhD Candidate, History and UAW 2865 member and Head Steward
Tim Willcutts, PhD Candidate, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Sara Smith, PhD Candidate, History and UAW 2865 member
Delio Vasquez, PhD Student, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Jeb Purucker, PhD Candidate, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Trina Barton, PhD Student, Politics and UAW 2865 member
Steven Araujo, PhD Candidate, Politics and UAW 2865 member
Lara Galas, PhD Student, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Erin Gray, PhD Candidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, PhD Student, Film & Digital Media and UAW 2865 member
Christie McCullen, PhD Student, Sociology and UAW 2865 member
Omid Mohamadi, PhD Student, Politics and UAW 2865 member
Jeff Sanceri, PhD Student, History and UAW 2865 member, 2010-11 GSA President
Kristin Miller, PhD student, Sociology and UAW 2865 member
Ryan Lee, PhD CandidateCandidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Leah Sicat, PhD Student, Education and UAW 2865 member
Jared Gampel, PhD Candidate, History of Consciousness and UAW 2865 member
Muiris MacGiollabhui, PhD Student, History and UAW 2865 member
Erik Green, PhD Candidate, Education, 2011-12 GSA President, UAW 2865 Trustee
Zoe Buck, PhD Candidate, Education and UAW 2865 member
Rebecca Buchanan, PhD Student, Education and UAW 2865 member
Fe Moncloa, PhD Candidate, Education and UAW 2865 member
Ethan Chang, PhD Candidate, Education and UAW 2865 member
Mecaila Smith, PhD Student, Education and UAW 2865 member
Sarah Papazoglakis, PhD Student, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Bern Samko, PhD Candidate, Linguistics and UAW 2865 member
Kristine Lawson, PhD Student, Anthropology and UAW 2865 member
Chrissy Anderson-Zavala, PhD Student, Education and UAW 2865 member
Jeb Purucker, PhD Student, Literature and UAW 2865 member
Maayan Tsadka, DMA Candidate, Music and UAW 2865 member
Brian Malone, PhD Candidate, Literature and UAW 2865 member