Warren, Sanders signal they may skip debate amid labor dispute

Progressive presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) suggested on Friday that they may not participate in Thursday’s Democratic primary debate in Los Angeles amid a labor dispute. 

“[Unite Here Local 11] is fighting for better wages and benefits — and I stand with them,” Warren, who was the first to issue a statement on the issue, said in a tweet. “The [Democratic National Committee] 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.”

Sanders also voiced his support for the workers in a tweet. 

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“I stand with the workers of [Unite Here Local 11] on campus at Loyola Marymount University fighting Sodexo for a better contract,” the senator wrote. “I will not be crossing their picket line.” 

Buttigieg also signaled he may skip the debate, and voiced his support for the workers on Twitter. 

“I take the debate stage to stand up for workers’ rights, not to undermine them,” Buttigieg tweeted. “I stand in solidarity with the workers of [UNITE HERE Local 11] at Loyola Marymount University and I will not cross their picket line.”

The Unite Here Local 11 labor union has asked candidates not to cross the picket line at the site of next week’s debate at Loyola Marymount University amid the dispute, which erupted after Sodexo canceled contract negotiations with the union for a collective bargaining agreement. 

The university has a contract with Sodexo for food service operations. 

Students and workers began calling for a fair agreement last November, taking part in picket lines. 

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“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” the co-president of the union said in a statement on Friday. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”

The union represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers associated with the university. 

The Hill has reached out to the DNC for comment. 

The DNC originally moved the debate to LMU due to a labor dispute at the University of California in Los Angeles. 

Next week’s primary debate is the final forum of the year. Seven candidates qualified for the debate.

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