Nevada’s Powerful Culinary Union Won’t Endorse Before Caucus

February 14, 2020 by Dan McCue

Nevada’s powerful Culinary Workers Union, an early force in propelling Sen. Barack Obama toward the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, said Thursday it will not endorse a candidate ahead of the state’s February 22 caucuses.

“We’re going to endorse our goals, what we’re doing — that’s what we’re going to endorse,” said  Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, during an afternoon news conference in Las Vegas.

The decision not to pick a candidate just days after the union lambasted “Medicare for All,” a central policy plank of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., appears to create an opening for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, two moderate Democrats.

The announcement was something of a disappointment for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who had hoped his opposition to “Medicare for all” and years-long ties to organized labor would win him its support and a boost in the state’s upcoming caucuses.

Instead, Argüello-Kline said the union would pursue three goals: seeking a living wage for all workers, preserving health care, and reforming the immigration system.

And while the union is sitting out the caucuses from an endorsement perspective, she said in the general election the union’s foremost goal will be defeating President Trump.

The Culinary Workers Union, or UNITE HERE Local 226, represents 60,000 hotel and restaurant workers in Las Vegas casinos, and claims to be the largest immigrant organization, with a membership representing 178 countries and speaking over 40 different languages.

The union boasts the state’s largest grassroots organizing force, with 350 workers phone banking and canvassing in the 2018 midterms.

In recent days the union has criticized Medicare for All, telling members that a single-payer, government-run health plan would force members off the union’s health trust fund that provides coverage for 130,000 workers and their families.

“Presidential candidates suggesting forcing millions of hard working people to give up their health care 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.

That stance has put the union at odds with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose supporters responded angrily to the distribution of the fliers.

Argüello-Kline said in a statement on Wednesday that supporters of Sanders had “viciously attacked” union members, and that the group was simply trying to share “facts on what certain health care proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over eight decades.” 

2020 Elections

Biden Seeks Unity as Trump Stokes Fading Embers of Campaign
Political News
Biden Seeks Unity as Trump Stokes Fading Embers of Campaign

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — On a day of grace and grievance, President-elect Joe Biden summoned Americans to join in common purpose against the coronavirus pandemic and their political divisions while the man he will replace stoked the fading embers of his campaign to “turn the election... Read More

Biden's Win Hides a Dire Warning for Democrats in Rural US
Political News
Biden's Win Hides a Dire Warning for Democrats in Rural US

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats once dominated Koochiching County in the blue-collar Iron Range of northern Minnesota. But in this month's presidential election, President Donald Trump won it with 60% of the vote. That's not because voters there are suddenly shifting to the right, said... Read More

Trump Says He'll Leave If Electoral College Seats Biden
2020 Elections
Trump Says He'll Leave If Electoral College Seats Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes President-Elect Joe Biden's victory — even as he insisted such a decision would be a “mistake” — as he spent his Thanksgiving renewing baseless claims that... Read More

Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package
Congress
Rep. Neal Eyes Massive Coronavirus Relief, Climate and Infrastructure Package

WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal's attitude toward legislating under a Democratic-led White House might aptly be described as "never let a crisis go to waste." The Massachusetts Democrat wants to take a page from his party's 2009 playbook, when the Obama administration took office amid the wreckage of... Read More

Opening of 117th Congress Will be Different Due to Pandemic
Congress
Opening of 117th Congress Will be Different Due to Pandemic

WASHINGTON — When the 117th Congress convenes in January, COVID-19 precautions will prevent the 435 House members from gathering in the chamber together, so opening day festivities of swearing in members and electing the speaker will look a little different. House leaders have begun discussing how to carry out... Read More

Mnuchin to Put $455 Billion in Funds Out of Yellen's Easy Reach
Economy
Mnuchin to Put $455 Billion in Funds Out of Yellen's Easy Reach

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will put $455 billion in unspent Cares Act funding into an account that his presumed successor, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, will need authorization from Congress to use. Mnuchin plans to place the money into the agency's General Fund, a Treasury Department spokesperson said Tuesday. That fund... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top