California: Picketers Prompt Keynote Speaker to Skip Berkeley Convocation

by E Wayne Ross on May 12, 2006

The Oakland Tribune: Nuñez cancels Cal speech over protest

A union protest threw a wrench Wednesday into the Commencement Convocation at University of California, Berkeley: The keynote speaker, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, declined to give his address because he refused to cross a union picket line.

“The Speaker does not cross picket lines,” Nuñez spokesman Richard Stapler said in an e-mail.
University spokeswoman Marie Felde said a couple dozen members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees staged a picket in front of the convocation, held in the Greek Theatre, to call for higher wages.

The union represents service workers, janitors and other low-paid employees at the campus. AFSCME officials have said UC wages lag those at other state universities.