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J20 Walk Out: Your Rights and Responsibilities


A mass walkout is being organized at UC (and many other locations) for January 20.  It is possible that some campuses will be heavily impacted by the walkout.  We offer some guidance here on your rights and responsibilites under the UC-AFT contracts for participation in the walkout and related activites during the week and day of the inauguration.

The "no strikes" language in our contracts applies to political actions like the walk out. You may not cancel your class, encourage others to cancel their class, or otherwise withhold your labor in support of the walkout.

You must also respect the rights of Academic Student Employees (i.e., grad students) represented by UAW Local 2865, especially if any individual grad student exercises her right to observe the picket line as a matter of individual conscience and free expression, which is permitted by Article 19 of the UAW 2865 contract. 

Here's what you can do to support the walkout: 

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 the walkout.  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.  You can go to the picket line, rally's,  or teach-ins 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 not suffer for participating in the walkout. 

4)  You can inform your students in advance that they will not be punished if they choose to participate in the walkout.

5)  As the instructor of record, you
 have the right to decide if the issues raised by the walkout 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 walkout.

As long as you exercise reasonable care 
in where your class meets, and as 
long as you are doing your best to deliver instruction to your students 
under the difficult conditions that a 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 walkout 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.