As the Democrats continue their march toward the 2020 primaries, the sheer number of candidates vying for the nomination has manifested quite the headache for the DNC and the party as a whole.
This is readily apparent when it comes to the contentious qualification guidelines implemented for the public Democratic debates, with a number of low-polling candidates writhing at the idea that they would be shut out of the process. Famously, long-shot hopefuls such as Andrew Yang have spoken out and threatened action against what they perceive as exclusionary tactics, with Yang railing specifically against the minuscule amount of speaking time that he has been granted during previous debates.
Now, an ongoing labor dispute at the site of an upcoming debate could see several of the field’s frontrunners boycotting the event as a whole.
Susan Minato, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said the union has been in negotiations with Sodexo over a contract since March, but that talks broke down on Friday. Picketing began in November.
“We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week,” she said in a statement. “Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.”
The list of possible non-participants is certainly significant.
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
.@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 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
Even the aforementioned Yang got in on the action.
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
Oddly enough, Loyola was the second choice for the DNC, after a similar labor dispute caused them to move the event from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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