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Judge orders temporary halt to UC academic workers’ strike over Gaza war | National news

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of academic workers striking at the University of California were ordered Friday by a state judge to temporarily end their weekslong strike over the war in Gaza.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Randall J. Sherman issued the emergency injunction after UC attorneys argued the ongoing strike would cause irreversible damage as students approach finals.

The university system sued United Auto Workers Local 4811 on Tuesday, even though both sides have competing employment claims of unfair practices pending before the California Public Employment Relations Board, which twice declined to issue an emergency injunction.

The union, which represents 48,000 graduate students who work as teaching assistants, lecturers, researchers and other academic staff at the 10-campus UC system, began its strike on May 20 in Santa Cruz. The strike has since spread to UC campuses in Davis, Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Melissa Matella, associate vice president for labor relations, expressed gratitude for the order, saying in a statement that the ongoing strike would have slowed student learning and potentially halted critical research projects. Officials say the strike is unrelated to employment conditions and violates the union’s contract.

But the union says it is protesting the treatment of its members, some of whom were arrested and forcibly removed from the area by police during demonstrations calling for an end to the war in Gaza.

Rebecca Gross, a graduate student at Santa Cruz University and a union leader, said Friday they are interviewing rank-and-file workers on how to move forward.

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

On May 1, police in riot gear ordered the dispersal of more than a thousand people who had gathered on campus in support of Palestine, warning that those who refused to leave would be arrested. The night before, police had waited to intervene when counter-protesters attacked the pro-Palestinian camp, causing injuries.

Pro-Palestinian protests have roiled campuses in the US and Europe as students demand that their universities stop doing business with Israel or companies that support its war efforts.

Police arrested protesters at Stanford University after occupying the school president’s office for several hours on Wednesday. Officials said protesters caused extensive vandalism both inside and outside the building.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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