Supporters of Bernie Sanders — who won the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday — may have severely hurt their candidate’s chances to win the important endorsement of Nevada‘s most powerful labor union. This comes just 10 days ahead of the state’s upcoming caucuses, the third contest of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season.
The 60,000-member Culinary Union — which represents Las Vegas casino and hotel housekeepers, bartenders, and porters — on Wednesday issued a statement saying that Sanders backers “viciously attacked” its members. The organization previously published an informational flyer saying the Vermont senator’s “Medicare For All” proposal would end its own health care plan, which had been negotiated “over 8 decades,” as quoted via Twitter by Nevada Independent reporter Megan Messerly.
The Culinary Union’s health care plan is arguably considered the best in Nevada and even includes its own 60,000-square-foot health clinic for its members. But Sanders has said that under his proposed national single-payer health insurance plan, private insurance — including union and employer plans — would be “essentially” eliminated, according to a Washington Post report.
“Private insurance as it exists today is nothing more than a confusing morass designed to make people jump through hoops before they can actually get the care they need,” Sanders said, as quoted by The Washington Post.
After issuing the flyer, the union was allegedly slammed with “tweets, as well as ‘a lot of phone calls and emails'” from Sanders supporters angry about its members’ criticism of their candidate, according to Messerly.
The Culinary Union has not yet endorsed a candidate in the Democratic race, nor has it decided whether it will issue an endorsement at all, according to an Associated Press report. But five California unions that are affiliated with the Nevada Culinary Union through the national Unite Here organization have announced that they are backing Sanders — or giving a co-endorsement to Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also supports “Medicare For All,” according to AP.
In a statement posted to its Twitter account, the Culinary Union — which calls itself Nevada’s “largest immigrant organization” with members from 178 countries — said that it believes, as Sanders often says, “healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.” The organization, however, added that it was disappointed in the Vermont lawmaker’s supporters for their attacks in response to its publication of “facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do” to affect the Culinary Health plan.
Culinary Union spokesperson Bethany Khan told the AP that the flyer contained no information that the union has not already communicated to the candidates directly. She added that it was not meant as an indication of any possible endorsement.