Cops Off Campus and Out of Labor!
The labor movement has a pivotal part to play in the growing rebellion against policing across the country. The way that “police unions” protect killer cop after killer cop makes this plain enough. Cops may have worker associations, but they are not our fellow workers. They are structurally incapable of solidarity because their purpose is to crush dissent, break strikes, and protect the racist status quo. RAFA has a strategy to advance the struggle to get cops off our campus and out of our labor movement.
This is a fight that is already at our doorstep as student workers. The UC has nearly doubled its baseline police budget in the last decade alone. It forecasts an expanded police budget for next year, even as it imposes austerity cuts everywhere else and classes move online. These are funds that could have been spent on instruction for students and wages for workers instead, but UC chooses to arm its private militia instead. This is because spending money on cops reduces insurance premiums and secures lower borrowing rates for the UC. Hence UCSC administrators flaunting the $300,000 daily price tag for policing the month-long picket. The UC pays cops and hikes tuition to borrow more money for non-instructional capital ventures, such as its many captive insurance companies.
UCPD also serves administrators by beating, arresting, and racially surveilling strikers and protestors. Cops that receive salaries from their universities are no different from the cops patrolling the streets of US cities — they even work together in what they call a “mutual aid” network. This is why the California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office were on the Santa Cruz picket, and why UCPD were on the streets of Oakland to repress Black Lives Matter protests. It’s also why UCLA let LAPD detain protestors at the Jackie Robinson stadium.
RAFA supports and actively participates in the NO COP UNIONS movement, which calls on the AFL-CIO to expel the International Union of Police Associations, and calls on AFL-CIO affiliates (including AFSCME) to terminate their relationships with unionized police and correctional officers. UAW is a part of AFL-CIO, and AFSCME represents thousands of UC workers. This is a major step towards removing the immunity cops enjoy for murdering community members.
RAFA is also organizing the fight against FUPOA, the Federated University Police Officers’ Association, which bargains on behalf of UCPD. This December, UCPD comes out of contract and will begin talks on a new one. We need to make the current contract their last contract.
The existence of a large, militarized, racist, and highly paid police force is a priority of UC management, clearly stated in its budget. The UCPD is a critical feature of the UC austerity model, and it brutalizes and demeans students, workers, and the broader public throughout the state. The struggle to kick cops off our campus is at once a struggle to kick them out of the labor movement, and therefore a struggle for justice. The rank and file of UAW 2865 must play its part in this struggle.