ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Friday, June 7, 2024

University of California Sues Its Graduate Student Union

Just one week ago, I wrote about the University of California's union, which includes 48,000 graduate students and other employees engaged in teaching and research.  That post was about how the union has done amazing work winning significant wage increases for these workers who contribute with their minds rather than through physical labor.

Santa Cruz SlugsBut now, as Parker Purifoy reports here on Bloomberg, the University of California is suing its union to get them to stop rolling strikes on five of the University's campuses.  According to the complaint filed in the case (thanks, Parker, for including the link -- you are a model for your peers to emulate!), the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the Union prohibits strikes.  The Complaint alleges that the Union authorized the strike on May 17, and the strike began at the Santa Cruz campus on May 20.  Their mascot may be a banana slug, but they won this race!  The strike then expanded to UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and UCI.

The cause of the strike is itself a matter of dispute.  The Union communicated that it was to protest the University's unfair labor practices, but the strike communications almost all relate to the conflict in Gaza and demands that the University divest from Israeli companies.  With the UC system on the quarter system, and the quarter due to end in June, the strike threatens to interfere with the submission of grades, and thus the University alleges a threat of irreparable harm.  According to the Complaint, the UAW has stated that the aim of its strike is to “maximize chaos and confusion for the employer,” and a strike during the exam period is a good way to do so. Indeed, the complaint alleges that on each striking campus UAW members "have refused to teach classes, lead discussion sections, conduct research, or otherwise . . . perform their job duties." 

The complaint alleges only one cause of action, for breach of contract.  The University seeks an order enjoining all strike activities while the collective bargaining agreement is in effect.  It also seeks unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2024/06/university-of-california-sues-its-graduate-student-union.html

Commentary, Current Affairs, In the News, Labor Contracts | Permalink

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