Nevada's powerful Culinary Union won't endorse in Democratic presidential race

Sanders Backers Clash With Culinary Workers Over Health Care Proposal

Nevada's powerful Culinary Union won't endorse in Democratic presidential race

The Culinary Workers Union said supporters of Sanders, a front-runner in the Democratic White House race, "viciously" attacked the organization via Twitter, text, voicemail and direct messaging after the union criticized the senator's universal healthcare plan on Tuesday. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has also vocally supported his plan. Pressed repeatedly on whether the union would aggressively oppose the Vermont senator, she pointed back to a flyer that listed the candidates' health care positions, rather than offering any new criticism.

The flier sponsored by the union, which is an influential force in Nevada politics, comes just a few days away from the Nevada caucuses.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 are Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE and represent 60,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most of the casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and in downtown Las Vegas. "We know all the candidates and we respect them all". Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer, saying each would "protect Culinary Healthcare".

In another flier released last week, the Culinary union said, "We have fought for 85 years to protect our healthcare. A history of blood, sweat, and tears secured our healthcare, not politicians' promises".

Sanders, a progressive who bills himself as a champion of organized labor, did not acknowledge his own supporters' alleged abusive behavior specifically and applied his call for an end to harassment to all campaigns' backers, but said members of his movement must be "respectful".

The union is concerned with the potential loss of the health care benefits it has negotiated with employers under the rollout of a government-run health care program that would abolish private insurance.

She continued, "Bernie has been clear that under Medicare for All, 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".

Sanders has said his goal is to show union members that Medicare for All would not result in any drop in coverage quality from private health care now in place. It doesn't want a single-payer plan like the one Sanders proposes to end the private insurance plan it has built through years of organizing, bargaining and striking.

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