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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona canceled a planned commencement speech at the University of Washington over the weekend because of an ongoing strike by postdoctoral researchers and research scientists/engineers, The Seattle Times reported.

“Secretary Cardona will not cross the picket line to give the commencement address,” a department spokesperson told the Times. “We respect the collective bargaining process and hope the parties can reach a resolution soon.”

About 2,400 employees went on strike Wednesday after contract negotiations broke down over pay and overtime eligibility, among other issues.

The university announced in April that Cardona would address the Class of 2023. The news release was updated Saturday to say he wouldn’t be speaking “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Union leaders and some lawmakers applauded Cardona’s decision on social media.

“Today is about celebrating our graduates and their amazing accomplishments,” a UW spokesperson told the Times. “We have plans to return to the bargaining table Monday and will continue to negotiate in good faith, as we have been.”