Many seniors expressed disdain that the 2008 Commencement Convocation speaker was Craig Newmark, the creator of Craigslist, and not someone like Steve Jobs or Nostradamus telling us what to do with life after college. But, hey, at least we had a speaker.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is at the height of demanding change for many underpaid UC service workers (this includes health care technicians, custodians, dining workers and more), and if they don’t reach a compromise with the university before this weekend, UCLA and UC Davis may not have the high-profile commencement addresses they were expecting: former President Bill Clinton and California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, respectively.

Both individuals refuse to cross picket lines or speak while university workers are without a contract. By the way, Nunez was supposed to speak at Cal two years ago, but didn’t because of AFSCME.

Choosing Craig seems quite a strategic move on the UC Berkeley Senior Class Council’s part, considering AFSCME would probably prevent someone more famous from speaking. Instead, AFSCME chose to give green cords to our graduates during the 2008 Commencement Convocation on May 13, promoting a symbolic show of support for the labor union’s struggle for higher wages and better working conditions.

Right now, many soon-to-be UC graduates sit at the edge of their seats. When will the AFSCME saga end? When will the University of California share its President’s ridiculous Kensington mansion riches? When will the UC show some real love to the people who have to deal with the daily state of Wheeler Hall 1st floor bathrooms? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Image Source: andydr under Creative Commons
Strike by UC workers on hold [Daily Bruin]

hank chapot UCB gardener said:
Jun 10, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Craig Newmark contacted AFSCME the day he was announced as speaker and asked about the boycott, he met a delegation of workers soon after to discuss the contract fight.

We gave him the green light to go ahead because we had lifted the boycott last year after the lowest paid worker’s payequity struggle was resolved, we reinstated it after the University refused our current contract proposals and sent the process into “impasse”.