Sanders, Warren, Yang, Biden, Buttigieg Threaten to Skip Next Dem Debate Over Labor Dispute at Venue (UPDATED)
A few major Democratic candidates are indicating they may skip next week’s Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University if it means they would have to cross a union picket line.
You may recall that the Democratic National Committee withdrew from holding the debate at UCLA over a labor dispute. At the time, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299 called for a boycott over “ongoing labor disputes over outsourcing, income inequality and alleged illegal labor practices” and asked candidates not to cross picket lines.
Right now there’s a labor dispute going on at Loyola Marymount, the new venue for next week’s debate. Per HuffPost:
LMU has a contract with Sodexho for its food service operations. Unite Here Local 11 represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers employed by Sodexo who prepare and serve meals for students and university employees.
Susan Minato, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said the union has been in negotiations with the company over a contract for the past month ― but it all broke down on Friday.
“Honestly, the proposals are relatively modest ― living wage, improvements on health care,” she said. “So we did not anticipate that there would be majority difficulty over it. But we were wrong. They abruptly canceled negotiations. I believe they were for today. And so that put us in the position of really declaring that this is a true fight now.”
So far, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang have indicated they will not cross picket lines at the university (UPDATE — now Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have too):
.@UniteHere11 is fighting for better wages and benefits—and I stand with them. The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 13, 2019
I stand with the workers of @UniteHere11 on campus at Loyola Marymount University fighting Sodexo for a better contract. I will not be crossing their picket line.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 13, 2019
I won’t cross the @UniteHere11 picket line to attend next week’s debate. We must live our values and there is nothing more core to the Democratic Party than the fight for working people. I support @UniteHere11 in their fight for the compensation and benefits they deserve.
— Andrew Yang? (@AndrewYang) December 13, 2019
I won't be crossing a picket line. We’ve got to stand together with @UniteHere11 for affordable health care and fair wages. A job is about more than just a paycheck. It's about dignity. https://t.co/nn4tb5q8wt
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 13, 2019
I take the debate stage to stand up for workers’ rights, not to undermine them.
I stand in solidarity with the workers of @UNITEHERE11 at Loyola Marymount University and I will not cross their picket line.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 13, 2019
Julián Castro has not qualified for the debate but he also shared his support and said, “no candidate for the Democratic nomination should cross a picket line”:
No candidate for the Democratic nomination should cross a picket line.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) December 13, 2019
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