The Democratic National Committee (DNC) bowed to the wishes of the Association of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union Wednesday, canceling the sixth Democratic Party presidential primary debate at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in December. An alternative venue for the debate has not yet been announced.
AFSCME is in the midst of an ongoing labor dispute with the University of California over the use of short-term outsourcing. As such, it has asked political candidates not to speak at UC schools.
The Huffington Post reported (original links):
AFSCME 3299, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, sent a letter to at least six of the candidates on Tuesday, asking them to respect its boycott on speakers appearing at UC schools until the dispute is resolved.
In other words, AFSCME 3299 told the candidates that if they support workers’ rights, they need to skip the UCLA debate.
“What we’re doing is asking for the candidates who are coming to UCLA’s campus to honor the three-year boycott that we’ve had in place for any speaker attending any event on any of the university’s campuses to stand in solidarity with the workers and essentially to not lend their name and credibility to the university that’s treating workers like this,” said Liz Perlman, the union’s executive director.
The December debate will be sponsored by “PBS NewsHour” and Politico.
Earlier this year, AFSCME Local 3299, which represents employees involved in patient care and related services, held a strike as an expression of solidarity with another union on strike against the UC system. The featured guest at a street-corner rally — which attracted more than 1,000 supporters — was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who had recently launched his 2020 presidential campaign.
As Breitbart News reported from the protest, Sanders barely mentioned the presidential campaign and focused on supporting the striking workers, saying he had always done so.