Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first to jump into the fray, declaring in a tweet that she would miss the debate rather than cross a picket line.
UNITE HERE Local 11 sent a letter Friday to all the Democratic presidential campaigns informing them of a labor dispute involving their union on Loyola Marymount University's campus, the site for next week's debate. In October, the DNC announced it wouldn't be holding a debate at the University of California, Los Angeles because of "concerns raised by the local organized labor community" and was moving the event to Loyola Marymount. According to the union, the workers are employed by the subcontractor Sodexo, which has been in negotiations with Local 11 since March.
The union, Unite Here Local 11, has a press release as a pinned tweet saying that picket lines on campus are likely on December 19 due to the labor dispute.
Sodexo officials could not be reached for immediate comment. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). all voiced their support of the union and promised not to enter the venue if the workers' protest was still ongoing.
Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer also offered their support for the Loyola Marymount workers, with Biden calling for them to receive "affordable health care and fair wages", Buttigieg saying he would not "undermine" workers' rights and Steyer urging the Democratic National Committee to "find a solution ahead of the debate". Amy Klobuchar, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and businessman Andrew Yang. "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", Hinojosa said. The Massachusetts senator called on the Democratic National Committee to find a solution "that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people".
The workers are hoping to strike a better deal with the company Sodexo, which handles food services for Loyola Marymount University.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both said they hit the fundraising threshold, but neither had the required number of polls to make the stage. Besides Sodexo's delays in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement this year, the union has come out against wages for airline catering workers at Los Angeles International Airport and a lucrative hotel project in Burbank, California, that it says would limit affordable housing.
Each of the seven qualifying candidates reacted by promising not to cross the picket line. Picketing began in November. Only seven candidates made the cut: former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen.