The Culinary Union is holding a press conference in Las Vegas to announce its endorsements ahead of the Nevada Caucus. Bernie Sanders of Vermont amid claims that his supporters "viciously attacked" union members after the union publicly warned its members against backing a candidate in the state's Democratic caucus who supports "Medicare-for-All".
Coming into Nevada's caucus February 22, however, "Medicare for All", the Vermont senator's signature health care policy proposal, may sink his support from one of the most powerful Nevada constituencies: organized labor. Elizabeth Warren, who proposes a similar or same plan.
The flier depicts where the leading 2020 Democratic candidates stand on health care, immigration and "Good Jobs", and singles out Sanders.
The release of the flier by the union, which is a force in Nevada politics, comes just a week and a half away from the Nevada caucuses.
According to the union, it represents 60,000 hotel and casino workers in Nevada and provides health insurance to more than 130,000 people in the state.
"Presidential candidates suggesting forcing millions of hard working people to give up their healthcare creates unnecessary division between workers, and will give us four more years of Trump", the union said in an English- and Spanish-language one-page leaflet that went to workers.
Sanders' rivals jumped into the fray on the issue on Wednesday, with the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, touting his Medicare for All Who Want It, which does not preclude private insurance. The union, which is made up mostly of women and Latino members, has built up a health care program that's the envy not only of low-wage service workers but even well-paid professionals with run-of-the-mill employer coverage. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and businessman Tom Steyer all have policies that would protect the union's healthcare interests.
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".
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.