Bill Clinton withdraws from UCLA commencement speech

Following up on promises to withdraw from speaking at UCLA graduation ceremonies if the UC system didn’t settle a labor dispute, Clinton finally sent word today that he was cancelling plans to attend the event scheduled for this Friday. Yesterday, former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez also cancelled a commencement speech scheduled for today at UC Davis, citing the same reasons. [via SacBee]

While tumultuous contract negotiations have stretched on for months, UC so far has managed to avoid a strike by its 20,000 employeess with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, who complain of low wages and poor benefits.

AFSCME-represented workers include radiology, respiratory and operating room technicians; cooks, food servers and caterers; and custodians, groundskeepers and other maintenance workers in the UC health care system, which includes Santa Monica-UCLA and four other hospitals plus student health centers. [MyFoxLA]

In late May, the UC system filed a restraining order to prevent a planned two day strike. Before a judge could decide on the matter, the AFSCME cancelled the strike plans and returned to contract negotiations. However, UCLA, 20 students began a 3 day fast in support of the union workers on the same day the strike would have started.

[additional source: MercuryNews.com]

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