Labor Fight Costs Riverside a Graduation Speaker
May 11, 2010

U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez has withdrawn as a graduation speaker at the University of California at Riverside, honoring a boycott called by the union that represents custodians, technicians and other campus workers, the Los Angeles Times reported. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which is opposing layoffs and other cost saving moves by the university, called the boycott and is predicting other speaker withdrawals as well. Sanchez issued a statement saying: "My family roots are in organized labor and, in good conscience, I cannot and will not cross the picket line to speak. I wish nothing but the best for this year's young graduates and hope they will respect my decision to stand in solidarity with my union brothers and sisters," Dwaine Duckett, the university's vice president for human resources, criticized the boycott, saying that "graduations are about students — their achievements, family support and sacrifices -- not the advancement of [the union's] ideological and political agendas."

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