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Warren, Sanders, Yang pledge to skip next week’s debate over union dispute

They refuse to cross the union picket line.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Dec 13, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 8:30 pm CDT

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Andrew Yang tweeted on Friday afternoon that they may skip next week’s Democratic presidential debate due to a union dispute involving the debate host Loyola Marymount University and Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company.

Sodexo employees—who work at the university and are represented by Unite Here Local 11, a union that represents 31,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona—are reportedly fighting for wage and benefit increases.

Warren was to first tweet that she might skip the debate due to the dispute between Unite Here Local 11 and Sodexo.

“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,” Warren wrote.

Roughly a half-hour later, Sanders echoed Warren’s sentiments, saying, “I stand with the workers … fighting Sodexo for a better contract.”

Twenty minutes later, Yang signed on to skip the debate due to the dispute.

“I won’t cross the @UniteHere11 picket line,” he wrote.

Some reacting to the announcements accused the candidates of pandering, being disingenuous or flip-flopping. But most seemed pleased by their support for the union workers.

In recent years, the Democratic party has had some difficulties appealing to working Americans, though their union support is historically strong. Many Democratic candidates courting this important voting block have tried to improve the party’s focus on labor rights.

If Sanders, Warren, and Yang decline to participate, the Dec. 19 debate will feature the remaining four candidates: Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tom Steyer.


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*First Published: Dec 13, 2019, 2:12 pm CST