In an important development just before presidential campaigns gear up for the February 22 Nevada Caucuses, the state’s biggest and most politically engaged labor organization, the Culinary Workers Union (Local 226), has decided not to announce an endorsement for the Caucuses.
As the Democratic presidential candidates brought up during Wednesday night’s debate in Nevada, the union has been involved in something of a cold war with Bernie Sanders supporters (and to a lesser degree, Elizabeth Warren supporters) over its claims that Medicare for All would force its members to abandon the high-life employer-sponsored health care plans it negotiated for in exchange for a pig in a poke. Indeed, the union is now accusing unnamed critics (who sound very Bernie-Twitter-adjacent) of hateful and unethical behavior:
So there had been some speculation that Culinary would endorse Biden, or perhaps make a multiple-candidate endorsement excluding Sanders and perhaps Warren.
But no. And despite the continuing bad feelings between the union and Bernie Twitter, the no-endorsement stance is probably good news for Sanders as the presumed Nevada front-runner, and another sign that Biden is in deep trouble. You get the sense the union didn’t want to waste an endorsement on Biden, while none of the other candidates suited it that well. Jon Ralston’s odds before the announcement seem plausible:
There remains some intrigue as to how much input the membership of the Culinary Union had in this decision:
Given the Union’s heavily Latino membership, some believe the rank-and-file might have gone for Bernie. But it’s also possible the membership voted for Biden and then the leadership thought better of it. Additional clues of the real preferences of Culinary Workers and their leaders will likely emerge when causing begins.