Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Tom Steyer may skip next week’s Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University, where a union representing university food-service employees have planned to picket.
Unite Here Local 11 announced on Friday that it would be picketing outside the debate, which takes place next Thursday, after contract negotiations have stalled with Sodexo, a company subcontracted by the university that employs the food-service workers.
“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” Susan Minato, co-president of the union, said in the statement. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”
By Friday, all seven candidates who qualified for next Thursday’s debate said they would not cross the union’s picket line:
.@UniteHere11 is fighting for better wages and benefits—and I stand with them. 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.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 13, 2019
I stand with the workers of @UniteHere11 on campus at Loyola Marymount University fighting Sodexo for a better contract. I will not be crossing their picket line.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 13, 2019
I take the debate stage to stand up for workers’ rights, not to undermine them.
I stand in solidarity with the workers of @UNITEHERE11 at Loyola Marymount University and I will not cross their picket line.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 13, 2019
I won’t cross the @UniteHere11 picket line to attend next week’s debate. We must live our values and there is nothing more core to the Democratic Party than the fight for working people. I support @UniteHere11 in their fight for the compensation and benefits they deserve.
— Andrew Yang???? (@AndrewYang) December 13, 2019
I won't be crossing a picket line. 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. https://t.co/nn4tb5q8wt
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 13, 2019
As I said at my event with labor leaders here in Miami, I will not cross the picket line and I will stand with @UniteHere11 to fight for the dignity of work.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) December 13, 2019
I support @UNITEHERE11. If their dispute with @sodexoUSA is not resolved before the debate, I will not cross the picket line. I trust the DNC will find a solution ahead of the debate, and I stand with @LoyolaMarymount workers in their fight for fair wages and benefits.
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) December 13, 2019
Thursday’s debate is hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. It was previously scheduled to take place at the University of California, Los Angeles, when it was first announced in October. The DNC switched locations to Loyola Marymount after a separate university employee union had demanded a boycott of speaking engagements due to years-long disagreements with UCLA.
Representatives for the DNC did not immediately have a comment when reached by TheWrap.