Union says it hopes to resolve dispute that could postpone Democratic debate

Democratic presidential candidates threatened to boycott the upcoming debate

Local union leaders said they plan to continue negotiations "Tuesday or sooner" before Unite Here Local 11's labor dispute postpones Thursday's Democratic debate to be held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading Below

"We want to thank the nine Democratic candidates who have expressed their support for Sodexo workers at Loyola Marymount University fighting for a fair contract with better wages and affordable healthcare," the local's co-president Susan Minato said in a statement this weekend. "We look forward to continuing negotiations with Sodexo this Tuesday or sooner in hopes of reaching an agreement before Thursday's Democratic debate."

TOP DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THREATEN TO BOYCOTT DEBATE OVER LABOR DISPUTE

Top Democratic presidential candidates threatened to boycott the upcoming debate over the dispute. Unite Here Local 11 represents 150 cooks, dishwashers, cashiers and servers employed by Sodexo, which is subcontracted by the university to prepare and serve meals for students and university employees.

If the matter is not resolved before the debate on Dec. 19, former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and billionaire Tom Steyer have said they will not participate.

Democratic presidential candidates from left, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sa

The Democratic National Committee already moved the sixth debate to Loyola Marymount because of another union dispute at the original venue, the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sodexo said in a statement that it is "100 percent committed to reaching an agreement" and that it has not left the bargaining table.

"We have been negotiating in good faith with the Unite Here Local 11 since December of last year with a goal to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that is equitable for everyone, including our employees, and we still intend to achieve such an agreement," a Sodexo spokesperson said.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Meanwhile, LMU said it is not part of the negotiations between the food service company and the union.

"The university has encouraged and continues to encourage Sodexo to resolve issues raised by Local 11," the school said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee, which is in charge of the debates, is facing criticism from members of its own party after Sen. Cory Booker failed to qualify. Booker said the current debate stage is not diverse.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.