As the focus of the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating race turns to the Nevada caucus (February 22), an influential labor union in that state, the Culinary Workers Union, in a surprising move, both has refused to support any of the candidates, and has focused some fire at one candidate in particular, Senator Bernie Sanders, the victor in the New Hampshire primary.
The Culinary Workers Union represents workers in restaurants, hotels, laundries, and casinos, with a greater range of tasks than its name may suggest. It has roughly 60,000 members, making it the largest union found in any of the “right to work” states. Its endorsement is often an important factor in this caucus.
The CWU is concerned that Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan would be a deal inferior, for its members, to the health insurance they have secured through the collective bargaining process.
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Mayor Buttigieg, who finished a close second to Senator Sanders in New Hampshire, is working to make hay of the union’s concerns. He has congratulated the union on having pursued for its members “wages, world-class health care, and the American dream.” But the CWU, in refraining from any endorsement, said that it will support whoever is the Democratic nominee.