An Orange County Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday afternoon, ordering a halt to a strike by thousands of graduate student teachers and research assistants at University of California campuses.

Judge Randall J. Sherman said the rolling strike authorized last month by 48,000 graduate students across the UC system represented by United Autoworkers Local 4811 must temporarily stop. Union members have gone on strike at six campuses in the UC system since mid-May, with UC Irvine being the latest to join on Wednesday.

The union went on strike saying the UC administration violated workers’ rights in its response to Palestinian solidary encampments and protests at various campuses. The union argues not only have members’ constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly been squashed, but also administrators unilaterally applied unfair labor practices by issuing suspensions to student workers without proper notices and hearings and, in the case of UC Irvine, interrupting the normal course of business by calling for remote classes after a protest there ended with a police response.

From the get-go, the UC system administration has maintained the work stoppage is illegal, saying it violates a no-strike clause in the labor contract with the UAW.

“We are extremely grateful for a pause in this strike so our students can complete their academic studies,” said Melissa Matella, UC’s associate vice president for systemwide labor relations. “The strike would have caused irreversible setbacks to students’ academic achievements and may have stalled critical research projects in the final quarter.”

As of Friday, six campuses with more than 30,000 unionized workers had strikes; however, it’s unclear how many workers have been withholding their labor. The strike began at UC Santa Cruz three weeks ago, then spread to UCLA and UC Davis last week, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara on Monday and then UC Irvine. Union leaders say the staggered start dates of the strike at various campuses was by design as an escalation tactic.

Twice before filing suit this week for the temporary restraining order, the university sought an injunction to stop the strike from the California Public Employment Relations Board, the quasi-judicial administrative agency charged with administering the collective bargaining statutes covering state employees. Both times, the board denied the request.

PERB has issued complaints of unfair labor practices against both the UC and the UAW. Complaints are not final rulings.

“Despite UC’s latest attempt to avoid accountability, let’s be clear: this struggle is far from over,” UAW posted to social media late Friday afternoon. “Having twice failed to secure an injunction from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), the university today succeeded in their search for a more favorable outcome. The law is on our side and we’re prepared to keep defending our rights.”

In response to calls for comment from UAW leadership, multiple high-ranking members said union officials were meeting Friday evening. They maintained that PERB — and not the Superior Court — should be the arbiter of issues related to the strike, including its legality.

The UAW post said the judge’s order halts the strike until June 27.

Moving forward, PERB will continue its evaluation of the labor dispute.

“While this is an important victory critical to support student success, the university will continue to pursue its legal claims in state court and PERB to protect labor peace across the system,” Matella said.

Mark Gradoni, a teaching assistant and labor leader at UC Irvine who was one of 47 people arrested during the May 15 protest, said Friday evening he welcomes the issue to return to PERB. “The UC has ignored the authority and jurisdiction of PERB, and we look forward to PERB’s response to the continued lawlessness of the University of California Office of the President and the Board of Regents.”

“The UC could legally end the strike by returning to PERB mediation, remedying its unfair labor practices and complying with the law rather than wasting the time of our members and the dollars of California taxpayers,” he added.

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Read UCI student protester demands and administration responses for yourself