Hundreds of union leaders and members will descend on downtown Los Angeles Friday for the start of a two-day summit that will feature appearances by eight Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker are all scheduled to appear Friday at the event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are on the bill Saturday.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was scheduled to participate in the event, but withdrew following his emergency surgery earlier this week due to a clogged artery.
Sponsored by the Service Employees International Union, the summit is billed as an effort to impress upon the presidential hopefuls the importance of unions.
“Our next president should know what really matters to America’s working people,” according to an event website. “The right to join a union — no matter where you work — is the best way to raise wages, improve working conditions and begin to fix the rigged economy.”
Friday’s discussion, starting with Biden, will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday’s session will begin at 10 a.m. with O’Rourke. Discussions with each candidate are scheduled to last 30 minutes.
The event follows a massive rally held by SEIU and union workers Tuesday near Los Angeles International Airport. The march, which featured appearances by Harris, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, among others, created some traffic headaches for motorists trying to reach the airport, but no flight disruptions were reported.
According to the SEIU, the march was designed to send the message that employees in the airline, ride-hailing, childcare and other industries who help make corporations successful are struggling to afford rent and basic necessities.
The appearances by the Democratic presidential hopefuls come one day after a new Public Policy Institute of California survey found Warren, Sanders and Biden in a statistical three-way tie in California. The survey showed the trio with support of 23%, 22% and 21% of likely primary voters, respectively.
Harris was a distant fourth at 8%, followed by Buttigieg with 6%
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