Currently, Unite Here Local 11, which represents food service workers at the university have been negotiating for a collective bargaining agreement.
All candidates who qualified for the December 19th debate have threatened to skip it because they stand united with the workers. They have state they will not cross the picket line in a show of support and solidarity with the workers.
The seven candidates (Warren, Sanders, Biden, Yang, Steyer, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg) who qualified for the next debate all took to Twitter to tweet their support:
Although Julián Castro did not qualify for the debate, it did not stop him from showing his support for labor:
“Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either,” DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said. “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.”
Friday, the union had sent a letter to all qualifying candidates alerting them of the situation. They had hoped to have secured a deal with better wages and more affordable healthcare for its members before the debate. Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus.
“Workers throughout Los Angeles struggle to survive in our city, where housing costs are skyrocketing and pushing more and more working people and their families toward housing insecurity or homelessness,” the letter stated. “Our members at LMU are no exception.”
This is the second location for this month’s debate. Originally, the DNC chose UCLA but UCLA is involved in their own labor dispute with AFSCME Local 3299.
PBS and Politico will host Thursday’s debate and News Views will hold a Live Discussion.