Each of the seven candidates who have qualified for this week’s Democratic presidential debate has agreed to boycott the event as a result of a union protest at Loyola Marymount University where the event is scheduled to take place.
CBS News reports that Unite Here Local 11, a union comprised of food service workers, has been protesting Sodexo, the University’s food service provider for higher wages and more affordable health insurance. After negotiations broke down with Sodexo the union issued a statement saying, “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.”
The dispute between the workers and their parent company has been ongoing since March. Ada Briceño, the union’s co-president told CBS News “Just recently, abruptly, the company canceled all the negotiation sessions we’ve had.”
This is an interesting development as many of the candidate’s platforms involve extensive labor reform and higher wages for American workers. Elizabeth Warren was the first to announce her refusal to cross the picket line with the rest of the candidates following shortly after.
As of this writing, a deal has not been struck between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11. The DNC is working with the university to find a solution as they’re unlikely to find a new venue on such short notice. Interestingly enough, this debate was already moved last month from the University of California, Los Angeles, as a result of another labor dispute. With only three days until the scheduled debate, no agreement in sight and all seven candidates refusing to cross the picket line, it remains to be seen if the final debate of the year will be postponed.