(Bloomberg) -- Bernie Sanders is courting Nevada’s largest union, even as it warns its members against his Medicare for All plan that would eliminate private health insurance.
Sanders’ appeal came hours before the powerful Culinary Workers’ union was to announce its endorsement in the Democratic presidential contest and days after it issued a statement decrying his approach to health care. The endorsement is being made just more than a week before the Nevada caucus, the third Democratic nominating contest.
On Thursday, Sanders tweeted support for the union in its fight with Valley Hospital and its parent company for better contracts and health care for hospital staff it represents.
“Making $780 million in profit, UHS Inc is one of the largest, most profitable hospital corporations in the country. They must put aside their greed, come to the table, and negotiate a fair contract,” he said.
The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this week, the union issued a one-page handout to members warning them of “presidential candidates suggesting forcing millions of hard working people to give up their health care.” Sanders’ Medicare for All plan would eliminate private health insurance and replace it with a government run plan, which the union opposes. The handout was first reported by the Nevada Independent.
Another large union, the Service Employees International Union, also has yet to endorse a candidate.
Sanders has staked his campaign on being the political voice of working people and labor rights, including increasing the number of workers in unions. Union opposition to his signature plan is a problem for Sanders in Nevada, a state where unions hold a large influence over Democratic voters.
That said, Sanders is hoping to do well there after a win in New Hampshire and strong showing in Iowa. Sanders had strong support from Hispanic and Latino voters in Iowa and Nevada is the first state with a sizable Latino electorate. The Culinary Union’s 60,000 members are predominantly Hispanic.
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