All Candidates Threaten Boycott of This Week’s LA Debate

LOS ANGELES – Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar could miss the next Democratic Debate due to a union fight at Loyola Marymount University.

They all tweeted Friday that they will not cross union picket lines until a better contract is reached for the LMU food service workers with the Unite Here Local 11 group.

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Unite Here Local 11 represents 31,000 workers in Southern California. According to Sanders and Warren, there are disputes underway with the workers fighting for better wages and benefits.

According to spokeswoman Maria Hernandez for Unite Here 11, they represent 150 dining hall and food service workers at LMU. Negotiations have been underway with food service provider Sodexo since March. Picketing began in November and the union plans to continue protesting during the debate.

Warren said the Democratic National Committee needs to find a solution align with the party’s efforts to help workers.

Now the question is, if a contract agreement is not reached will the candidates skip the next debate?

The Democratic Debate is scheduled for December 19 at Loyola Marymount University. 

Earlier on Friday Warren picked up a high-profile endorsement from women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

Loyola Marymount University released the following statement:

“LMU is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11. The university has encouraged and continues to encourage Sodexo to resolve issues raised by Local 11. Earlier today, LMU asked Sodexo to meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions. LMU is not an agent nor a joint employer of Sodexo, nor of the Sodexo employees assigned to our campus. LMU is proud to host the DNC Presidential Debate and is committed to ensuring that the university is a rewarding place to learn, live, and work.”

DNC Communications Director, Xochitl Hinojosa released a statement, saying the DNC was “working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled.”

Sodexo statement:

“Sodexo is 100% committed to reaching an agreement, and any statement that we have left the bargaining table is not accurate. We have been negotiating in good faith with the Unite Here Local 11 since December of last year with a goal to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that is equitable for everyone, including our employees, and we still intend to achieve such an agreement.”