Culinary Union: ‘Disappointing’ to see Sanders supporters attacking us over health care criticism

Nevada’s Culinary Union accused supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) of launching vicious attacks, intensifying a feud over health care between a leading Democratic presidential candidate and an influential player in the Nevada caucuses.

“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,” the union said in a statement.

The union, which represents 60,000 employees in Las Vegas and Reno, received pushback from Sanders’s supporters after it circulated a flyer that stated the Vermont senator’s “Medicare for All” health care plan would “End Culinary Healthcare.”

That isn’t wrong; under Medicare for All, private health insurance would cease to exist and would be replaced with a government-run plan.

Sanders and his campaign argue it would benefit the entire country, and Sanders also has argued that overall health care expenses would be reduced.

But it would mean members of the culinary union could lose the health care coverage they have negotiated.

The flyer also stated, “Presidential candidates suggesting forcing millions of hard working people to give up their healthcare creates unnecessary division between workers, and will give us four more years of Trump.” 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) supports a version of Medicare for All that includes a three-year transition period.

Sanders’s Nevada state director, Sarah Michelsen, responded to the flyer, saying, “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.”

According to the statement, union members went on strike for more than six years to protect the Culinary Health Fund, the health care plan the union currently has. The plan provides health care to more than 130,000 Nevadans.

“Our union believes that everyone has the right to good healthcare and that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege,” the union said. “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.”

The butting of heads between the powerful union and the Sanders campaign comes just more than a week before the state’s caucuses on Feb. 21.

Sanders on Tuesday narrowly beat former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire’s primary. 

Tags 2020 Democratic presidential primaries 2020 Nevada primary Bernie Sanders Culinary Union Elizabeth Warren Medicare for all Nevada Pete Buttigieg

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