UAW 2865 Joins UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA STUDENTS AND WORKERS in the WALKOUT and DIRECT ACTION CAMPAIGN
Beginning January 20th
Against Fascism and Attacks on Public Education, Students, and Workers
FRIDAY, 20 JANUARY 2017: INAUGURATION DAY
WE DEMAND THAT THE UC ADMINISTRATION:
1) Denounce Donald Trump’s government
2) Restore free education
3) End state policies that enable racial segregation at all levels of education
4) Designate Sanctuary School status to protect undocumented members of our community
5) Grow, not cut, independent science funding; support for increased federal science funding
6) Fully demilitarize UC campuses
7) Fully divest from toxic UC investments
8) Make the UC budget fully transparent.
9) Implement survivor-led process for holding people accountable who commit acts of gender-based and sexual violence
10) Commit to providing free and accessible trans and reproductive healthcare, including abortion access, to students and workers
11) Democratize the Regents
We are at a historic crossroads. The current state of affairs has been, and under a Trump presidency will only increase in being, untenable for us and our loved ones. We must take action as students, workers, faculty, and staff against the racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and ableism that Trump has normalized in this country, both structurally and rhetorically. We (un)welcome him to office by pledging not to comply with any policies he and his supporters pass that would harm us and our loved ones.
We are a broad and diverse union committed to social justice that works to unite and center the needs and demands of many communities, including immigrants, refugees, undocumented folks, workers, Muslims, poor people, indigenous folks, queer and trans folks, Black folks, Chicanx/Latinx folks, Asian and Pacific Islander folks, Jews, women, survivors of sexual violence, labor activists, people with disabilities, public education activists, civil rights activists, and many others. In these troubling times, we reiterate that an injury to one is an injury to us all.
Many members of our union are part of struggles that have been centuries in the making against structures of white supremacy, xenophobia, and colonial dispossession. In these years, we have witnessed the power of collective action as seen in movements such as the Movement for Black Lives and the Native American-led campaign for justice in Standing Rock. All students at our university have been affected by the chronic defunding and privatization of public education in this country. All workers at our university have been affected by the insidious culture of “right-to-work,” a campaign supported by Trump that undermines workers’ living wages, healthcare, and many other rights and protections by making unions unable to function. While Trump talks about reforming trade deals ostensibly in order to help U.S. workers, we know he will not restore millions of his companies’ jobs back to the United States, we know he will not support a $15 minimum wage, and we know it will continue to be profitable for him to exploit documented and undocumented workers alike through dangerous, poverty-level jobs. We must prepare for the anti-labor climate ahead, including direct threats to the survival of our Union, and we must fight back by centering an understanding of the intersections among labor exploitation, settler colonialism, and white supremacy.
UAW 2865 endorses the UC-Wide Walkout and Direct Action as an explicit refusal of these policies and structures based on hate and profit. Our labor as students and workers plays a key role in providing Trump with a material basis for his power in the presidency, most evident in the military research and production that takes place throughout UC campuses. This military research and production plays a crucial role in the national economy and also lays the foundation for the state’s monopoly on violence. When Trump is talking about mandating Muslims to register in a national database, deporting undocumented migrants, bringing “law and order” to “inner cities,” and “bombing the shit out of ‘em,” he is talking about utilizing the machinery that is produced as a result of our own labor.
We take action against the Trump administration to declare our noncompliance as long as he is in office.
We say, “NO!”
Why We Take Direct Action against UC Administration
The University of California (UC) administration has been complicit in creating the conditions for Trump’s rise to power. UC Regents and administrators are the who’s who of America’s billionaire class, and like Donald Trump, have made massive sums of money through fraud, laundering, and ponzi schemes. UC administration actively courts military contracts, invests in private prisons, collaborates with surveillance firms, and more, all of which are now managed by Donald Trump. Our university has also been complicit with Trump’s anticipated regime of mass deportations. Our current UC President Janet Napolitano served as Secretary of Homeland Security (2009-13) during a period in which this country, through DHS programs like “S-Comm,” deported the highest number of people, both documented and undocumented, in its history.
Meanwhile, the UC administration has cried broke and tripled the cost of education over the past decade. The tuition hikes have only further excluded students from historically underrepresented communities from attending school at our universities: while Black, Native, and Chicanx/Latinx students make up 48% of the total state population, they comprise less than 20% of the UC student body. Administration has structurally excluded youths from working class communities of color from attending the university for the sake of profit by upholding a historically-rooted unequal access to resources along racial lines. Through such policies, what was once legal segregation is now racialized economic segregation. Meanwhile, savvy administrators have appropriated social justice language to offer an illusion of progress. Without having affirmatively intervened in these historically-rooted conditions, the UC administration has minoritized Black, Native, and Chicanx/Latinx students on campus, leaving these populations vulnerable to the types of escalating hate crimes suffered UC-wide in the past year, all while using students of colors’ faces in promotional brochures and alumni fundraising pamphlets. In the first week after Trump’s election, dozens of reports of physical and verbal attacks on UC students from historically underrepresented populations have surfaced throughout social media. UC administrators have not once adequately responded.
It is time UC administrators intervene affirmatively in the interests of our most vulnerable campus and local populations.
We walkout for the purpose of achieving the following immediate demands of the UC Administration:
1) Denounce Donald Trump’s government as racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and ableist. These dynamics have been repeatedly exemplified by the emergence of an empowered and energized white supremacist/alt-right presence on our campuses, whose xenophobic hate speech and propaganda have escalated throughout Trump’s campaign. We demand that all members of the UC’s administrative class clearly and unambiguously denounce the Trump government, circulating this message widely.
2) Restore Free Public Education to undo the structural-level exclusion of students from historically underrepresented communities and to ensure that a UC education becomes legitimately accessible. Structural-level exclusion is the product of inequitable access to resources, such as a university-level education, and bigoted discourse is its byproduct. In mid-November, the UC Regents met to discuss a ten-year plan for tuition increases, set to begin this year. The UC Regents must not only refrain from increasing the cost of public education, which further contributes to the structural-level inequities endorsed by the Trump government, but the Regents must vote to provide fully subsidized, free education to all students: in-state, out-of-state, and international people regardless of citizenship or visa status. We are encouraged by the statewide renewal of Proposition 55 this past November, which taxes high income earners to help fund public education. However, we know that this funding alone will not be sufficient to enable fully subsidized public education for all. To fully support this demand, we call for immediate salary reductions of our system’s most highly paid administrators and for the redirection of these funds to support student and worker housing, healthcare, food access, education, and fair compensation of the labor these services require.
3) End state policies that enable racial segregation at all levels of education, beginning with three key steps. We demand the end of state policies that enable racial segregation at all levels of education and the implementation of policies that better serve our communities, as outlined in the three following points. 3a) the UC administration publicly and clearly support the reversal of Proposition 209 and the reinstatement of affirmative action-based student admissions and employment; 3b) the UC administration publicly and clearly support the reversal of Proposition 13, which has exacerbated the under-resourcing of K-12 education in communities of color and low-income communities, thereby compounding the inaccessibility of these groups to higher education; and 3c) Grant the UC system Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status to increase the number of undergraduate, state-labeled “Hispanic” students enrolled to meet the 25% criteria for additional federal funding. HSI status further requires that at least 50% of the student population be eligible for federal student aid. This would ensure an increase of students from other underrepresented backgrounds (Black and Native, especially) because the university would be responsible to engage under-resourced communities, of which a large proportion are nonwhite. At campuses where this status has already been granted, we call for the formation of student-led offices to coordinate outreach and funding opportunities for these communities.
4) Designate true sanctuary school status to protect all communities under attack by the Trump government, including but not limited to: undocumented members of our community, Muslims, Arabs, LGBTQQI folks, Palestinians, all refugees (including those from Syria), Black folks, Native folks, Latinx/Chicanx folks, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Jews, and others who have been viciously targeted in language and action by Trump and his alt-right (white supremacist) supporters. By sanctuary we mean ensuring that the UC police, UC administration, and the Governor of California: 1) refuse to cooperate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other deportation agencies or share any student or worker information or collaborate with any identification or ethnic/religious registration process; 2) publicly declare that ICE and any other police enforcement agency will not be granted physical access to UC campuses, dorms, or other public property under any circumstance; 3) publicly acknowledge that all students, faculty, staff, and other workers be exempt from any and all forms of retribution for taking action to provide safety for students vulnerable to laws of any kind that criminalize undocumented or “illegal” immigrants, as we know that no one is illegal. Finally, in order to ensure that the undocumented members of our community can continue to afford living, studying, and working at the UC, we call upon the UC administration and Governor of California to designate secure funding for undocumented students who will no longer be able to work if DACA is repealed. We also demand the UC apply AFSCME 3299 immigrant rights provisions to all UC workers. We demand UC prohibit the use of E-Verify and expand work authorization provisions, including those related to Social Security “no-match” letters.
5) Grow, not cut, independent science funding. The Trump government has promised to cut important funding to scientific research, especially targeting independent research on the escalating effects of climate change. We acknowledge the importance of maintaining scientific research, and all fields of academic inquiry, that is resolutely independent from corporate agendas that place profit over knowledge. We call on the UC administration and the Governor of California to protect these vital sources of independent funding for research, including that which is desperately needed in the struggles for climate, health, and economic justice. We call on the UC administration and the Governor to also actively and publicly combat any cuts to federal science funding.
6) Fully demilitarize UC campuses. We will no longer accept the surveillance, criminalization, prosecution, repression of public protest, and targeting of particular student and worker groups (such as the Black Student Union, Afrikan Black Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Students Association, labor unions, among many others) that has become all-too common on our campuses in recent years. The deployment of increasingly heavily armed law enforcement officers equipped with riot gear, militarized vehicles, other military-style technologies, and both lethal and non-lethal weapons is a threat to the kind of supportive and peaceful environment requisite for learning and teaching. We demand immediate disarmament of all police, including campus police agencies, and an end to the research that further enables the technologization of perpetual war. In service of demilitarizing UC campuses, we also demand that the UC cease to receive research funding from entities seeking to profit from warfare enhanced by UC research. The University of California receives roughly a half billion dollars annually from the United States Department of Defense. Combined with another half billion dollars from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and an unknown amount from private military contractors (i.e., Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Los Alamos National Security LLC, and more), military-related research funding makes up at least one billion dollars of the annual UC budget. The military technologies produced by UC-based research are used to disproportionately exert force on communities of color, both at home and abroad.The STEM fields are so much more than factories for the production of death and destruction–our creativity and skill sets could be much better utilized to solve the world’s most pressing problems, not to create more of them in the name of war and surveillance.
7) Fully divest from toxic UC investments, including fossil fuels, prisons, and companies that benefit from settler colonial occupation and apartheid. We instead demand a reprioritization of investments and research objectives to solely reflect a commitment to social justice, rather than applied military research used in the service of wars that devastate communities. Moreover, all of these investments are protected through heightened militarization of our campuses, which produces a war-like climate in institutions of education. We demand the UC make its investments public and respond to our demands for divesting from violence.
8) Make the UC budget fully transparent. The importance of full budgetary and investment transparency at the UC parallels our concerns about Donald Trump’s financial conflicts of interest that threaten to direct US domestic and foreign policy. We know that Regents and high-level donors have influenced decisions to undertake large capital projects on numerous UC campuses, putting our campuses in debt and using student tuition as leverage. We demand that the UC system-wide budget, and every campus budget, be made fully available to the public. We further demand a moratorium on capital projects.
9) Implement a survivor-led and trauma informed process for holding people accountable who commit acts of gender-based and sexual violence, including harassment. The rampant and under-addressed acts of gender-based and sexual violence that routinely take place within the UC system impact every layer of our campus communities. In most cases, when survivors seek to address these problems, their/our voices are disappeared down bureaucratic channels, as the safety and job security of the people who commit these acts of violence are prioritized over the people they harm. To illuminate the structural nature of this problem, we now know that several of our university’s highest administrators to whom we are made to appeal, including UC Regent Norm Pattiz, have themselves routinely violated the safety particularly of working class women of color, trans women, and people whose gender identities do not conform to a binary. This pattern is structured in systems of white heteropatriarchy, now including “President” Trump among high-ranking authorities who have committed acts of sexual violence. We recognize that the criminal justice system is profoundly flawed in its instrumentalization of sexual violence to cage and incarcerate men of color at disproportionate levels. We seek the implementation of an alternative survivor-led, trauma-centered accountability model that provides resources for survivors and holds their well-being as more important than preserving institutional power or personal prestige.
10) Commit to providing free and accessible trans and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, to students and workers. Given the rhetoric and track record of “President” Trump and his alt-right cabinet-members, we call upon the UC to pledge that its student health centers and insurance will provide continued, accessible, affordable, and high-quality health care coverage, including covering all necessary health care costs for trans folks and reproductive health care costs for women, including the ability to terminate pregnancy. We call upon the UC to guarantee access to these services for undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, lecturers, librarians, and all campus staff, as well as their dependents.
11) Democratize the Regents and other UC administration. The governing body of our University should be chosen by faculty, students, and workers, not by the Governor, and the Regents should be held accountable to these constituents. The necessity of a new model of governance at this University is especially evident given conflicts of interest that parallel Donald Trump’s and news about Regent Pattiz’s serial objectification and harassment of women. We call for democratic elections of all university administrators where students, workers, and faculty have a direct vote in the governance of our institution.
Our above-listed demands are the minimal structural changes that the UC administration can implement in order to translate their rhetoric into concrete action. Now is the time for our administration to demonstrate whether they stand on the side of students and workers, or on the side of a racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and ableist government.
We will mobilize now and continuously, beyond elections and candidates, to normalize effective tactics for disruption and dissent. We must target Trump’s government through the channels we can access and where we are located, in the UC system, at the forefront of the national economy and within a nexus of federal and corporate capital flow.
Campus bureaucracy and privatized public universities are not the answer to fascism. We reject both. We will build towards a new university, one that centers economic equity, racial justice, receptivity to gender non-conformity, community collaboration, and global peace at a structural level, not just in rhetoric. Today, we commit to continuing this work, started generations before us, and we walk out with our friends and allies across the UC system in support of these key demands for collective justice.
January 20, 2017, NO SCHOOL! We will fight for another university.
The UAW 2865 Joint Council