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Will Nevada’s Culinary Union Sit Out the Election?


The Culinary Union in Nevada has threatened to sit out the 2012 election. This could be a big deal. The most powerful labor union in Nevada, with deep roots in the Las Vegas Latino community, the Culinary Union could really threaten Obama’s ability to win the state. Why is the union doing this? It claims because it is too busy fighting for new contracts and organizing workplaces. But the more likely reason is because Democrats rely on labor to win elections and then do very little to press labor’s agenda.

Now I’m not sure I support this action myself. When it comes to brass tacks, defeating Romney is a pretty top priority of mine. But I sure can understand why labor would do this. And lest one think that the idea of distancing the labor movement from the Democratic Party is some intellectual heighten-the-contradictions argument disconnected from reality, these conversations are taking place at the upper echelon of the labor movement, as the Culinary Union’s announcement shows. Will the union really follow through with this? Kind of doubt it. Is it worth it to put the fear of god into Democrats in order to extract some concessions? Probably. Should labor routinely endorse the Democratic candidate a solid year before the election every 4 years, as it has already done this election cycle? Probably not, at least unless Democrats earn it.

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