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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Labor & Workers
IBEW Wildcat Honors Picket-Line in Solidarity with UAW Strike at UC Berkeley
UAW strike at UC Berkeley was expanded as various groups of workers respected picket lines.
On Wednesday, April 2nd, UAW Local 2865 went on strike across the University of California system. The strike was called by Teachers Assistants and in part, shut down classes across the state. On the first day of the strike in Santa Cruz on April 2nd, 20 strikers were arrested and on the next day, two more were also arrested by police. According to a post on indybay.org by Alex Darocy, “[UC Santa Cruz strikers] successfully blocked the main entrance for the whole day, but the attempt to block the west entrance of campus was prevented when a large group of UC police arrested 20 people.” Student workers are striking against intimidation by management and police as well as over wages and class room sizes. According to a post by strikers:
“[We are striking over the] university’s unwillingness to bargain over key aspects of our employment, including class size and the length of our workweek. Also at issue is the university’s history of illegal intimidation of student workers. For example, this past November, an administrator at UCLA threatened overseas students with the loss of their visas for participating in a sympathy strike—a claim as insulting as it was untrue.”
In Berkeley, at 6:30 AM one strike supporter with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) bay area branch went to picket the construction site of Campbell Hall (located on the UC Berkeley campus). After about ten minutes, construction workers who came across the picket line approached the IWW member and decided to respect the picket line. 15-20 workers with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) decided to leave work in an act of solidarity with striking UAW workers. Also, while the picket line was set up, all laborers on the work site conducted a work stoppage.
By 8 AM, members of the UAW had erected a picket line at Telegraph and Bancroft and began holding a large rally. As with all struggle, we seek to generalize the strike as well as class-conflict and general defiance within larger society. We wish that students could have occupied buildings across campus. That bus drivers driving students as well as construction workers building new buildings, would have walked off the job. And that people across campus could have walked out of classes – not in a desire to make this system simply “more fair,” but in a human strike against the regime of capital and a willing desire for a different way of life. But at least for now we know that small acts of solidarity with the hope of expanding existing struggles are possible – and with more people, there is no telling how far they may go.