SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Twenty people have been arrested so far Wednesday morning as teaching assistants at UC Santa Cruz strike in protest of what they say are unfair labor practices perpetrated by the University of California system.
Santa Cruz Police are advising of traffic delays. The intersections of northbound Bay and High Street is currently closed to vehicular traffic, as is the intersections of westbound High Street at Cardiff Place and eastbound High Street at Western Drive. Traffic is being diverted.
Protesters began assembling on campus around 5:30 a.m., swelling to a crowd of about 35. About 20 officers from the university police department and California Highway Patrol were on scene.
The protesters blocked an entrance to campus, with officers making numerous attempts to get them to stop blocking traffic.
As of 8 a.m, UCSC officials were reporting that campus police were directing campus traffic up Empire Grade Road to the west entrance.
The workers are protesting what they say is a pattern of unfair labor practices perpetrated throughout the UC system. Approximately 13,000 people represented by the UC Student-Worker Union UAW 2865 are striking throughout the state. The union represents about 600 teaching assistants at UCSC, according to university spokesman Jim Burns.
Picketing is happening on the UCSC, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego campuses today, with protests planned at other UC campuses tomorrow.
Twenty people were arrested between 7 and 8 a.m. when campus police re-opened the west entrance, which had been closed for about an hour. Those individuals were arrested for charges that included blocking the roadway, disobeying an order from an officer and failing to disperse. One person was also charged with resisting arrest. Those arrested were taken to Santa Cruz County Jail for booking on a UCSC bus, Burns said.
"It's difficult to know for certain about the impact of today's strike on instruction on campus. We know that some classes — either taught by faculty or lecturers — are occurring in their normal time and place," Burns said. "In other cases, we suspect that classes were either moved or canceled."