The influential Culinary Union distributed a flier that says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would “End Culinary Healthcare” if elected president of the United States.
The flier, obtained by CNN on Tuesday, outlines where the leading 2020 Democratic candidates stand on health care, immigration and “Good Jobs.” It singles out Sanders as the candidate who will end the union’s health care among the top six Democratic candidates, pointing to his “Medicare for All” plan.
The release of the flier by the union, which is a force in Nevada politics, comes just a week and a half away from the Nevada caucuses. The organization says it represents 60,000 hotel and casino workers in Nevada and provides health insurance coverage for more than 130,000 people. Its organizing abilities have helped deliver the state for Democrats for years. The union has not endorsed a candidate in the 2020 election.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer are expected to “Protect Culinary Healthcare,” according to the flier. All six candidates are proponents of lowering drug prices, the union notes.
The Nevada Independent was first to report on the flier.
Sanders’ Nevada state director, Sarah Michelsen, pointed to the senator’s career, saying he “stood with workers … fighting on picket lines against pension cuts and corporate greed. Medicare for All will be no different; the program is crafted with the working class and particularly union members in mind.”
“Bernie has been clear that under Medicare for All, we will guarantee that coverage is as comprehensive or more so than the health care benefits union workers currently receive, and union health clinics, including the Culinary’s health clinic, will remain open to serve their members. With health care as a human right, unions will have more leverage to negotiate better wages and benefits,” the statement reads.
“Medicare for All” is spearheaded by Sanders and would radically change the way Americans are covered, shifting control to the federal government and essentially eliminating the private insurance industry. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is a co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, had said she was “with Bernie on Medicare for All” until she released in November her own plan on how to implement it.
The flier notes Warren would “Replace Culinary Healthcare after 3-year transition or at end of collective bargaining agreements.”
A flier distributed by the union last week delivered a message on health care but did not name any candidates. It reads, “We have fought for 85 years to protect our healthcare. Why would we let politicians take it away?”
“A history of blood, sweat, and tears secured our healthcare, not politicians promises. We fought for our healthcare,” it reads.
It then lists, “Picket lines,” “Civil disobedience arrest actions,” and “Years of strikes.”
“Some politicians say… ‘The only way to fix healthcare for everyone, is to take others away,’” it reads.
“Some politicians say … ‘You will get more money for wages from the company if you give up Culinary Health Insurance.’ Those politicians have never sat at our bargaining table or been on a 24/7 6 years, 4 months, and 10 days strike line - like we have to make an employer pay for healthcare,” it reads.
“We will not hand over our healthcare for promises,” the flier reads.
Sanders on Tuesday won the New Hampshire primary. After a second-place finish there, Buttigieg hit Sanders on Medicare for All, telling CNN’s “New Day” it would be a “tough sell” to Nevadans.
“When you’re in Nevada you talk to a lot of folks, including workers in organizations like the Culinary Workers union and other labor organizations that have fought hard for good health care plans. And Sen. Sanders’ message that he’s going to erase those plans and replace them with a single government plan for everybody is going to be, I think, a very tough sell among voters who want to have that choice,” Buttigieg said Wednesday.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.