Clinton Supporters Allege Las Vegas Union Is Bullying Workers to Vote for Obama
Representatives of a major Nevada union that has endorsed Barack Obama were seen allegedly strong-arming a fellow union member into supporting their candidate of choice, the Las Vegas Sun reported late Wednesday.
The Sun reported that two members of the Culinary Workers Union, which has formally backed the Illinois senator in Saturday’s caucuses, witnessed two other field organizers aggressively attempting to collect pledge cards for their candidate in the break room of a casino on The Strip.
The two members, who are themselves supporting Hillary Clinton, told the Sun the field organizers demanded another union member sign a pledge card or be banned from participating in the caucuses.
at Paris Las Vegas (UPDATED)
By Michael Mishak · January 16, 2008 · 8:30 PM
Culinary Union organizers have been working in earnest for the last
week to get the word out about the union’s endorsed candidate, Sen.
Barack Obama, and to lock down member support in the run-up to
But two Culinary members supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton say they
watched today as two of those field organizers were overzealous in
their efforts as they collected pledge cards for Obama in the break
room of a Strip casino. The Clinton campaign quickly tried to paint the
incident as part of a broader pattern, though introduced no other
After the Sun worked the story for two hours, this much is clear:
What exactly happened this afternoon at Paris Las Vegas depends on whom
you talk to. To hear Clinton’s campaign and her supporters tell it, the
union intimidated a member into caucusing for Obama, demanding that she
sign a pledge card — or face exile from the caucus.
To hear the alleged victim tell it, it was much more of a misunderstanding.
Marie Angers, a cook at Paris, and her son, Matt DeFalco, a kitchen
runner at the resort, told the Sun they saw two Culinary
representatives intimidate a coworker, Sylvia Antuna, by telling her
that she had to support Obama if she wanted to caucus.
Both Angers and DeFalco are supporters of Clinton, whose campaign contacted the Sun about this incident separately.
On top of that, Angers and DeFalco said, the reps handed Antuna an
Obama pledge card, telling her she had to sign it to participate in the
caucus and that today was the deadline.
“The lady told all of us: Nobody can go to the caucus unless you’re
voting for Obama,” Angers said. “They have no right to do what they
did. This is America. You should be able to vote for who you feel like.
It doesn’t matter who the union is endorsing. They can try to persuade
us but it doesn’t mean people have to vote for them.”
But Antuna tells a different story. She said she was filling out a
voter registration form when the union reps approached her about Obama.
When she told them she wasn’t sure about caucusing for him, one rep
took her registration form, indeed telling her that she couldn’t
participate Saturday if she wasn’t supporting Obama.
At that point, Antuna said, Angers and DeFalco, who were sitting at
a neighboring table, engaged the union rep in a heated discussion.
Antuna said she sat silent while both sides swapped words. She doesn’t
recall the bit about the pledge cards.
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