Edwards rallies for labor as he stumps at UC Berkeley


first_imgBERKELEY – A janitors’ wage dispute at the University of California at Berkeley is a continuation of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, Democratic presidential contender John Edwards said Sunday. “This march for economic and social justice for the men and women who work at this university is a part of a bigger march in America for fairness and equality,” Edwards said during a campaign stop on his current tour of U.S. college campuses. Edwards sounded the civil rights theme to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the clash between black voting rights marchers and police in Alabama known as Bloody Sunday. Edwards spoke to a packed ballroom just across the street from UC Berkeley, in keeping with a long-standing boycott of the Berkeley campus by prominent Democrats as a show of solidarity with the janitors’ union. The former North Carolina senator used a similar campaign stop at Vanderbilt University last month to court support among young voters and organized labor by backing a wage increase for campus workers at the Nashville, Tenn., school. As Edwards in his speech praised diversity in the United States, including sexual orientation, as “the heart and soul of who we are,” his campaign tried to exploit conservative pundit Ann Coulter’s recent anti-gay slur, seeking to generate campaign donations. “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word `faggot,”‘ Coulter told GOP activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. Edwards’ campaign has asked supporters to help raise $100,000 in “Coulter Cash” to show that the former North Carolina senator would not be intimidated by “bigoted attacks.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img