Saturday, before an assembly of the Culinary Union – the most powerful workers union in Las Vegas – Democratic Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown declared that should he run, he would be “The Most Pro-Union, Pro-Worker Candidate” out of the entire field.
He stated, “I will always fight for workers, I will always be on the side of workers.”
Brown also announced that should he become president, he would immediately convene a meeting of key industry leaders and encourage them to pay their workers, at least, a minimum wage of $15. He did not say that he would introduce a $15 minimum wage bill, however, only that he would encourage corporations to pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
The Ohio Senator is in the middle of his “Dignity of Work” tour and has been traveling to key presidential battleground states to advocate for “workers-first policies.” He stated that he would make his formal decision whether or not to run sometime next month. His declaration to be the most “pro-union” candidate is at odds with his oft-repeated campaign positioning strategy of being a center-progressive who can win moderate votes. By vowing to take pro-union positions that would put him to the left of candidates like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, he could lose his appeal with those moderate voters.
The Culinary Union represents more than 60,000 workers in the Las Vegas and Reno area. The union members are primarily employed as cooks, maintenance staff, janitorial workers, and various service workers who are all employed by the local casinos.
In the 2016 presidential election, Hilary Clinton won Nevada by a very narrow margin of 47-45 percent over President Donald Trump. However, while Clinton also won the state in the Democratic primary over Senator Sanders, she did so with a far more comfortable margin of 53-47. While Sherrod Brown has found support at the various labor groups he’s met with in Iowa and New Hampshire, it remains to be seen if it will have a broader appeal to the state.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].