Candidates threaten to boycott L.A. Democratic debate

Democratic candidates threaten to boycott presidential debate over labor dispute

Presidential hopefuls threaten to skip debate over union dispute

As the hospitality workers' union Unite Here Local 11 said that next week's Democratic presidential debate could be threatened by stalled contract negotiations for workers at Loyola Marymount University, which is hosting the debate, Sens.

The dispute between UNITE HERE Local 11 and Sodexo threatens to throw off plans for the December 19 debate, which is slated for Loyola Marymount University. Bernie Sanders responded by tweeting they wouldn't participate if that meant crossing it. Amy Klobuchar, environmental activist Tom Steyer and businessman Andrew Yang followed suit.

"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 with next week's debate", said Xochitl Hinojosa, a DNC spokeswoman.

"I won't be crossing a picket line", former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted. "I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate", she tweeted. A job is about more than just a paycheck. "It's about dignity." The other candidates used Twitter to post similar sentiments. Seven Democratic candidates have qualified for Thursday's debate, but three of them are now threatening to boycott the debate over a labor protest concerning a company that handles food services for the university. At a protest in November, the workers handed out bilingual signs denouncing Sodexo as "unfair" and encouraged university students to join their cause.

"We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week. Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus", said Susan Minato, co-president of Unite Here Local 11.

It is unclear whether both parties will strike a deal before the debate.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer announced on Friday that they would pull out of the December 19 Democratic debate in Los Angeles if a local labor union dispute can't get resolved.

This is the second labor issue to complicate plans for the December debate. Earlier this month, it was originally intended for the University of California, Los Angeles, but relocated to Loyola Marymount over labor protests by another union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299.

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