UC sues UAW over breach of contract

In order to ensure that it can meet its commitments to its students, patients and campus community, the University of California filed a lawsuit today against UAW, the labor union striking across UC campuses in violation of their contract. The suit asks the state to issue a temporary restraining order to UAW to immediately end a strike on UC campuses.

“The blatant breach of the parties’ no-strike clauses by UAW will continue to cause irreversible harm to the University as it will disrupt the education of thousands of students in the form of canceled classes and delayed grades,” said Melissa Matella, associate vice president for Systemwide Labor Relations. “The breach of contract also endangers life-saving research in hundreds of laboratories across the University and will also cause the University substantial monetary damages.”

The filing notes that UAW bargaining unit members have refused to teach classes, lead discussion sections, conduct research, or otherwise perform their job duties on the striking campuses. It also describes the wide-ranging impacts on the UC system:

  • Individuals carrying UAW picket signs have also blocked egress and ingress to various University buildings and access points, including hospitals and childcare centers.

  • For example, individuals carrying UAW picket signs have blocked key access points at UC Santa Cruz, causing extreme disruption to its operations.

  • Individuals carrying UAW picket signs have stormed and barricaded themselves into buildings at UCLA.

  • Also, at UCLA, individuals carrying UAW picket signs have blocked streets, parking lots, and loading docks, preventing access by the community.

UC has stated that the strike is about political and social issues, not terms of employment and issues related to labor.

The filing states that “UAW members individually advocating for the vote understood that the strike was to support UAW’s political and social position. One noted the international focus of the strike and made clear that the vote was about divestment and Palestine. Another pushed their department to vote for the strike stating, “[T]he top demand that matters here is disinvestment. This is about Palestine first and our ability to work comfortably at UC second.” UAW has stated that it will expand its strike systemwide by the finals period, which is early to mid-June for most of the University’s campuses.

“Without immediate injunctive relief, the University will suffer irreparable harm to its operations, as well as the educational experience and academic progress of its students,” the filing notes.

For more information on these issues and UC’s position on them, visit https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/resources/employment-policies-contracts/negotiation-updates/uaw-news-and-updates/