Gore, Newsom Pass on UC Commencement

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday May 19, 2006

The latest Democrats to cancel speaking events at a UC Berkeley event are Al Gore and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. 

The former vice president canceled a talk he was supposed to give on Tuesday on global warming at a China-U.S. Climate Change Forum, which was being organized by Peking University and UC Berkeley. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees threatened to picket at the event. 

Gore refused to cross picket lines created by university custodians, landscapers and food service workers in an ongoing labor dispute between the university and the union. 

Newson joins a growing group of Democratic politicians refusing to cross the picket lines to speak at UC Berkeley graduation events. Picket threats by the workers resulted in Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, State Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) canceling plans to speak at university commencements. 

A press release by the UC Berkeley News Center states that “plans for Gore to speak were canceled after a local union threatened to picket the event” but that “the remainder of the climate change program” would be taking place as scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday.