None of the Democratic presidential candidates picked up the key endorsement of the UNITE Here! Culinary Workers’ Union Local 226 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday afternoon.
“We’re not going to endorse a political candidate,” said Local 226 Secretary-General Geoconda Argüello-Kline.
“We are going to work … to defeat President Trump,” she said, to cheers from union members.
Local 226, which represents 60,000 workers, including many in hotels and casinos, also sees itself as an immigration activist organization, is thought to be among the most influential political forces in the city.
Unions are particularly influential in the Democratic Party’s caucuses in Nevada, and the competition among candidates for union endorsements — and among unions for their respective candidates — can be fierce.
Local 226 had signaled this week that it would not support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), describing his policy of “Medicare for All” as a threat to the health insurance plans that workers have won through collective bargaining.
The union’s announcement Thursday was eagerly anticipated: whichever candidate it chose could enjoy a boost at the polls. And with Sanders out of the picture, the other frontrunners could have benefited from a unique opportunity to challenge him.
Local 226 had held several town halls and meetings with the Democratic contenders.
But in the end, the union simply decided to endorse its “issues.”
It invited the media, and all Democratic candidates, to attend a protest outside the Palms Hotel before the Democrat debate next Wednesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.