Strike Has Candidates Poised to Pull Out of Democratic Debate

Peter Wade

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All seven of the Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for next week’s debate at Loyola Marymount University in California have said they refuse to cross the picket line resulting from a culinary worker strike at the university. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang, all of the candidates shared on Twitter that they will not attend next week’s Democratic debate. Candidates Sen. Cory Booker and Julián Castro have also expressed support for the union, although neither qualified for this debate.

This puts the Democratic National Committee in the tough position. Sodexo, the company that employs the campus’s culinary workers, is in negotiations with the union that represents them, Unite Here Local 11.

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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 union said in a statement. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”

Warren, who has made fighting for the working class a priority in her campaign, was the first to announce her solidarity with the striking workers, writing on Twitter, “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.”

All of the other qualifying candidates quickly followed suit.

The DNC, through spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa, said on Friday that its chairman Tom Perez “would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either,” adding that the DNC is “working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution.”

Meanwhile, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg bought CityLab and laid off half of its reporters.

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