Culinary Union says Bernie Sanders would end its health care

The influential Culinary Union distributed a flier that says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would "End Culinary Healthcare" if elected president of the United States. Pictured here, Sanders takes the stage with his spouse Jane O'Meara Sanders during a primary night event on February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- In a flyer released Tuesday night, Culinary Union 226 said presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would "end culinary healthcare" if elected.

The flyer breaks down policy plans for six Democratic presidential candidates: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Sanders. Sanders is the only candidate listed that the union said would "end" their health care. 

Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Steyer are all candidates listed as "protecting" culinary union healthcare. Warren's plan states she would replace the current healthcare plan, "after [a] 3-year transition or at the end of collective bargaining agreements," according to the union.

The flyer also breaks down policy positions on immigration and unionization.

The Sanders campaign said the senator from Vermont will work with union members to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Sanders' Nevada state campaign director Sarah Michelsen's statement said:

Bernie has stood with workers his entire career, 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.

In a statement, the union claims Sanders' supporters "attacked" union members over their stance on healthcare. The statement from Geoconda Arguello-Kline reads:

The Culinary Union is Nevada’s union and largest immigrant organization with members who come from 178 countries and speak over 40 different languages. Our union is comprised of majority women, and we are proud to have changed the lives of over 800,000 hospitality workers in 85 years through rank-and-file organizing and mass actions.

Culinary Union members are empowered to engage in democracy – whether at the bargaining table, while canvassing in neighborhoods, or on the streets in the desert heat – we fight for workers across Nevada, union and non-union alike.

We have welcomed Senator Bernie Sanders into our union for a town hall with Culinary Union members, and we hosted tours of the Culinary Health Center and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas with Senator Sanders, to show what we have fought for and won.

Our union believes that everyone has the right to good healthcare and that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. We have already enacted a vision for what working people need - and it exists now. Workers should have the right to choose to keep the healthcare Culinary Union members have built, sacrificed for, and went on strike for 6 years, 4 months, and 10 days to protect.

It’s disappointing that Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada simply because our union has provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades.

We have always stood up for what we believe in and will continue to do so. The Culinary Union has faced some of the toughest companies who wanted to break our union, and even the President of the United States Donald Trump – and won.

Together, we will figure out the best way to fix healthcare in America, and the Culinary Union is committed to fighting until we win for everyone.

Warren's campaign responded via Twitter, saying, "No one should attack @Culinary226 and its members for fighting hard for themselves and their families. Like them, I want to see every American get high-quality and affordable health care—and I’m committed to working with them to achieve that goal."

The Culinary Union has yet to respond to inquiries on whether the union will make a Democratic candidate endorsement ahead of the Feb. 22 caucus.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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