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December Democratic debate back on after parties reach deal in related labor dispute


The Dems were not about to cross their union buddies

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Thursday night's Democratic presidential primary appears to be back on following concerns about candidates' participation related to a recent labor dispute at the venue.

On Friday, plans for the upcoming debate were thrown into uncertainty as the result of a labor dispute at the venue between Sodexo and UNITE HERE Local 11, a union that represents food service workers at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where the event is slated to take place.

After contract negotiations broke down, the union said that candidates would be "greeted with picket lines at the event." In response, all seven of the qualified candidates said they wouldn't cross a picket line to participate in the debate if the issue wasn't resolved.

The DNC issued a statement Tuesday morning that said a tentative agreement between the company and the union was reached and would be solidified via a formal vote later in the day after Chairman Tom Perez stepped in to help bring the parties together and come to a resolution.

"Every worker deserves fair wages and benefits," Perez said. "That's why I was proud to help bring all stakeholders to the table, including UNITE HERE Local 11, Sodexo, and Loyola Marymount University. to reach a deal that meets their needs and supports workers."

UNITE HERE Local 11, the union at the center of the dispute, said the tentative deal includes a 25% pay raise, a 50% drop in health care costs and "increases to workers' job security" in its own statement about the deal.

"I am thrilled that we were able to reach an agreement, and that the candidate debate can continue as scheduled," Angela Fisher, a cook at Loyola Marymount University, said in the union's news release. "I want to thank the Democratic candidates who stood with us and the Democratic Party that helped us win."

In a statement reported by Spectrum News 1, Sodexo said that it was "very happy our positive working relationship can continue with improved benefits and wages for our employees on the campus of LMU" and that it is "excited to continue working with our partners on campus to welcome the Democratic presidential debate."

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