Will the Culinary Union Endorsement Be Relevant on Wednesday?

The focus today has been on the Obama surge in New Hampshire polls, but there’s also news from Nevada, which will caucus January 15. Michael Mishak reports on the Las Vegas Culinary Union’s Local 228′s delayed endorsement decision due to “an apparent disagreement between the Culinary Union and its international parent, Unite Here…”

The decision to wait until after Iowa was not out of step with the Culinary’s cautious profile. The delay was the political equivalent of “card check,” an organizing process that allows workers to sign cards supporting the union, instead of voting in an election, a process the union considers onerous and unpredictable. In essence, the union wages only campaigns it knows it can win.

But by delaying until after the New Hampshire primary the union is effectively diluting much of its political clout though. ….[W]ith the dynamics of the race likely to be firmed by Tuesday’s result, the union’s effect on how its members vote will be an open question.

The Las Vegas Gleaner adds some context, poining out that the national UNITE/HERE folks are pushing for an Edwards endorsement:

The Culinary in Las Vegas is the most successful example of organized labor’s strength, growth and positive economic influence on a community in America in the last, oh, 25 years…. The Culinary union is the reason that Southern Nevada has a middle class and is not a just a couple gated communities surrounded by vast swaths of high desert ghetto.

That makes it all the more disappointing that the national UNITE HERE people are reportedly pushing for an Edwards endorsement on the basis that they like his policies and approach best, whereas the Culinary appears consumed primarily with being on the side of the winner (i.e., probably Obama).

 

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