Thursday, 01 October, 2020

Democrat Sanders, Nevada union in escalating feud ahead of state nominating contest

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders is accompanied by his wife Jane O’Meara Sanders as he arrives to speak at his New Hampshire primary night rally in Manchester N.H. U.S Sanders Backers Clash With Culinary Workers Over Health Care Proposal
Gustavo Carr | 15 February, 2020, 04:56

The Culinary Union said its membership is 55 percent women, 54 percent Latino, 19% White, 15 percent Asian and 10 percent black.

The flier, obtained by CNN on Tuesday, outlines where the leading 2020 Democratic candidates stand on health care, immigration and "Good Jobs".

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) distanced himself from what the Culinary Union claims are attacks from his supporters, condemning "ugly personal attacks" but telling PBS NewsHour on Thursday that those people are "not part of our movement".

"We are going to endorse our goals", Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union Local 226, said during a press conference in Las Vegas. Why would we let politicians take it away? "We know all the candidates and we respect them all".

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The casino workers' Culinary Union, a 60,000-member group made up of housekeepers, porters, bartenders and more who work in Las Vegas' casinos, controls arguably one of the most important voting blocs in Nevada and is expected to play a crucial role in the state's contest later this month. Next to Warren's name, it lists "Medicare For All" and "replace Culinary Healthcare after 3-year transition or at end of collective bargaining agreements". It's not the first time the two camps have clashed. On health care, it says Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer would "expand Obamacare with public option", while Buttigieg would "have 'Medicare for All Who Want It". Bernie Sanders would "End Culinary Healthcare" if elected president of the United States. In the statement, Argüello-Kline said the union believes everyone has the right to health care but stressed that its current model is "what working people need".

Sanders' campaign has sought to reassure union members that Medicare for All would not worsen the quality of their health coverage.

While Sanders condemned the attacks, calling harassment "unacceptable to me", he is distancing himself from the supporters the Culinary Union addressed in its statement.

"We will guarantee that coverage is as comprehensive or more so than the health care benefits union workers now receive, and union health clinics, including the Culinary's health clinic, will remain open to serve their members", said Sarah Michelsen, Sanders' Nevada state director.