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General Strike Advice for UC-AFT Represented Employees


This information is to help you understand your rights regarding strikes and other job actions, with respect to the no-strikes clauses in our contracts.  

UC-AFT sometimes endorses strikes that have been called by other unions, or general strikes called by student groups and coalitions.   

Here's what you can do: 

1) Nothing in our MOU or any other rules at UC prohibit you from exercising
 your First Amendment rights to speak out and/or demonstrate your support for a general strike.  During non-work, or break time, you have every right to walk on a picket line, write leaflets, speak out to your 
colleagues and/or students about your views on budget
 priorities at UC, the national debt crisis, the Occupy movement, etc.   You can go to the picket line or do other
 strike support work before and after your scheduled work hours.  You can
 wear buttons or tee shirts or express your views in a variety of media.

2)  As 
“instructor of record” for your class, you have the right and responsibility to decide the best way to deliver instruction to your
 students. You can arrange to hold your classes out doors, or at an alternate off campus location.

3)  You can reschedule tests, reviews, etc. so that students do no suffer from missing your class. 

4)  You can inform your students that they will not be punished if they choose not to cross a picket line.

5)  As the instructor of record, you
have the right to decide if the issues raised in the strike are directly
 relevant to what you are teaching.  You can devote a portion of your class to a discussion of the issues involved in the strike.

Here are some limits to UC-AFT represented employee participation in sympathy strike activities:

1) You may not cancel your classes, or duty on Library desks, etc. (unless, of course, you go to class and no one shows up). 

2) You may not urge other faculty or staff to
withhold their labor, or withhold your own. You simply must do the best you 
can to meet your teaching or work obligations.

You can expect various emails and missives from the Administration 
making a variety of threats if you don't meet your class in its regular
 location and time. They may suggest that there are “liability issues” if you 
don't meet in a regular classroom. As long as you exercise reasonable care 
in where your class meets (not in the middle of a freeway please!), and as 
long as you are doing your best to deliver instruction to your students 
under the difficult conditions that a strike/walkout presents, you will not
 be liable for anything that you would not be liable for in teaching a class in your normal classroom.  As long as you make a reasonable attempt to meet
 your class, you cannot be fired or disciplined in any way.  If you think you 
are receiving any threats about your responsibilities during the strike that are not being received by everyone else, please let your UC-AFT Field Representative or a local officer know about it.

Please follow the above guidelines.  If you do try to withhold your labor,
 please know that the UC-AFT does not encourage it (we face substantial fines 
if we do), and you are putting yourself at risk, since your contract does 
not protect sympathy strikes.

Within these guidelines, please do everything you can to support the broader
 educational, social justice, and labor issues raised in these actions.

Mike Rotkin

UC-AFT Vice President for Organizing