Los Angeles, we may just have a debate.
As of last week, not a single contender plans to attend Thursday's Democratic primary debate in support of a labor union striking at Los Angeles' Loyola Marymount University. And even after spending 20 hours on the phone trying to resolve the dispute this past weekend alone, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez has nothing concrete to show yet, Axios reports.
Loyola Marymount hospitality employees have been striking against food service provider Sodexo since March. The Unite Here Local 11 group informed Democratic candidates last week about the strike and, one by one, they all said they'd boycott the debate to avoid crossing the union's picket line. Perez is now scrambling to resolve the dispute because it's too late to find another location — most venues are full with holiday shows and sporting events, CNN notes.
So with Perez, a former Labor Secretary, in charge, the DNC has resorted to orchestrating an agreement between the workforce and Sodexo. "He understands the importance of getting the parties back to the table, and expects that to happen promptly," said Xochitl Hinojosa, a DNC spokesperson. DNC staffers seem hopeful as well, and have already started heading to Los Angeles, Axios says.
The Democratic National Committee has already faced a union challenge to this debate, deciding in early November to pull it from UCLA over a union's three-year boycott on speakers at the school. It announced the debate was moving to Loyola Marymount a few days later.
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