All seven of the Democrats who qualified to appear in this week’s primary debate are threatening to boycott the event in response to a labor dispute between and workers at host Loyola Marymount University and a food vendor, The New York Times reports.
A labor union for food service workers at Loyola Marymount are in a contract dispute with university food vendor Sodexo.
“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” members of Unite Here Local 11 said in a statement. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”
Loyola Marymount told The Times that it is not involved in the dispute and “asked Sodexo to meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions.”
“L.M.U. is proud to host the D.N.C. presidential debate and is committed to ensuring that the university is a rewarding place to learn, live and work,” the school said in a statement.
A spokesman for Sodexo said it is “100 percent committed to reaching an agreement, and any statement that we have left the bargaining table is not accurate.”
Dems vow not to cross picket line:
Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang -- the only candidates to qualify for the Los Angeles debate -- vowed not to appear at the debate if the dispute is not resolved by the day of the debate.
“The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party’s commitment to fight for working people,” said Warren, the first candidate to make the pledge. “I will not cross the union’s picket line even if it means missing the debate.”
“We’ve got to stand together with @UNITEHERE11 for affordable health care and fair wages. A job is about more than just a paycheck. It’s about dignity,” tweeted Biden.
DNC deciding how to proceed:
The Democratic National Committee said it is weighing options for how to proceed.
“While L.M.U. is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11, Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either,” the DNC said in a statement. “We are 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 with next week’s debate.”