“Officially, we will not endorse any political candidate,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer, said at a news conference in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon.
She added that the union respects Sanders and the entire Democratic field, and that it will work to turn out its members in the Feb. 22 caucuses and in November.
“What we want is to defeat Trump,” Argüello-Kline said.
The union, which has 60,000 members, represents housekeepers, cocktail and food servers, porters and other workers in the Las Vegas and Reno hospitality industry.
Earlier this week, the union released a flier summarizing the positions of six of the Democratic presidential hopefuls on health care, jobs and immigration policy. The flier stated that Sanders would “End Culinary Healthcare” due to his Medicare-for-all proposal, prompting what the union described as an onslaught of attacks from Sanders’s supporters.
“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,” Argüello-Kline said in a statement Wednesday.
Sanders said in a tweet Thursday that he stands with the union “fighting for health care, a pension and fair wages” as it negotiates a labor contract with a Las Vegas hospital.
Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has placed second behind Sanders in this month’s Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, also sent a tweet Thursday supporting the union.
“No one should ever attack them for fighting and delivering for their members,” he said, in what appeared to be a critique aimed at Sanders’s supporters.
Bailey reported from Las Vegas.