LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Several Democratic presidential candidates are pledging not to cross the picket line amid a labor dispute involving food service workers at Loyola Marymount University – even if it means missing the Democratic presidential debate next week.

Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren all tweeted in solidarity with UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers, and servers who prepare and serve meals for LMU students, faculty, and staff.

Warren wrote: “The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party’s commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union’s picket line even it if means missing the debate.”

The presidential debate is scheduled for Dec. 19. It was moved to LMU after another labor dispute at UCLA prompted a boycott by labor unions.

Local 11 has been in talks with global services company Sodexo since March to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, but have yet to reach a resolution, officials said.

In a statement, LMU said the university has contacted Sodexo and encouraged the contractor to “meet with Local 11 next week to advance negotiations and solutions”, but does not have any direct involvement in the negotiations.

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa released this statement:

“The DNC and LMU learned of this issue earlier today, and it is our understanding this matter arose within the last day. While LMU is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11, Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either.  We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week’s debate.”

The debate will be hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico, and it will air live on PBS and be live-streamed across PBS NewsHour digital platforms and
on Politico’s digital and social platforms.

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