Buttigieg to join striking South Carolina McDonald's workers next week

Buttigieg to join striking South Carolina McDonald's workers next week
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Presidential candidate and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegFormer Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over MORE plans to join striking McDonald’s workers in Charleston, S.C., on Monday, the day before the state's Democratic primary debate.

The workers of the fast food giant are demanding a $15-an-hour wage and the right to unionize. 

"McDonald’s workers are living with low wages, harassment, and even violent assaults — and they deserve better," Buttigieg said in a statement on Friday. "It’s critical that we support workers who are coming together to fight for a union, fair wages and benefits, and an end to harassment and discrimination.”

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South Carolina, which will hold the South's first primary vote on Feb. 29, is seen as one of the first real tests of how the candidates fare with black voters. It comes one week after Saturday's Nevada caucuses, which has a nearly 30 percent Latino population. 

Buttigieg has not polled well with black or Latino voters, who make up much of union membership, and he hasn’t received as much support from unions as candidates such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' 4 reasons why Trump can't be written off — yet Progressives lost the battle for the Democratic Party's soul MORE (I-Vt.).

According to Buttigieg’s website, he supports a $15 minimum wage and aims “to double unionization, restore workers’ rights that have been eroded by decades of anti-worker policies, enshrine the right to multi-employer bargaining, and expand protections for gig economy, farm, and domestic workers.”

Buttigieg sought to capitalize on an opportunity to court unions earlier this month when the influential Culinary Workers Union in Nevada criticized Sanders over his "Medicare for All" proposal, which they argue could take away their union-negotiated private insurance. 

During the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Buttigieg touted his “Medicare for all who want it” plan, saying “we can actually deliver health care without taking it away from anyone.”