UPDATE #3: Elizabeth Warren responded on Twitter to The Culinary Union's Wednesday statement:
"No one should attack [The Culinary Union] 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," she wrote.
UPDATE #2: Culinary Union Local 226 has issued a statement following the release of Sanders' statement:
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.
UPDATE: Bernie Sanders' campaign has released a statement on the flyer:
"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," said Sarah Michelsen, Bernie 2020 Nevada State Director. "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 most powerful union in Nevada is warning its members that Senator Bernie Sanders would "end" their health care if he were elected president in November.
In a new candidate explainer handout, The Culinary Union is letting its members know where each top Democratic candidate, as well as President Trump, stands on important issues.
Those issues listed on the handout, which was made available in English and Spanish, are health care, good jobs and immigration.
According to the union, paper handouts were distributed beginning this week to members at employee dining rooms, and a digital version was sent out Tuesday, the same day as the New Hampshire primary where Sanders is the projected winner.
Many of the bullet points on the handout are identical amongst the Democrats, which include Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, Warren and Biden along with Sanders.
The most striking difference, though, is in Sanders' row where under health care it reads "End Culinary Healthcare."
Warren's plan, the only other "Medicare For All" candidate, is described as "Replace Culinary Healthcare after 3-year transition or at end of collective bargaining agreements."
The Nevada Democratic caucus starts on Saturday, Feb. 15, and ends a week later.
Despite holding town halls over the last few months for most major Democratic candidates, The Culinary Union has not endorsed any candidate. Its leader Geoconda Arguello-Kline told News 3 last week, “We make no decision yet."
Yet, it's clear the union disfavors having to give up any health care coverage that it had to fight for on behalf of its members.
UNITE HERE, the umbrella union over the Culinary, says that it will not endorse a candidate in the 2020 election. However, it is in strong opposition to another four years of Donald Trump in the White House.
A flyer sent out last week by the union made it clear health care is the most weighty issue for many of its members, saying, "We have fought for 85 years to protect our healthcare. Why would we let politicians take it away?"
An endorsement from the Culinary would be a major advantage for any candidate with its thousands of working-class members.
Plus, with Iowa and New Hampshire being incredibly close victories for Buttigieg and Sanders, the battleground Silver State, next up on the campaign trail, is pivotal for every candidate.
The flyer encourages members to caucus with sites listed at Strip properties as well as "Community Sites" and "Neighborhood Precincts."
For a list of early caucus locations, nvdems.com/early-vote.