After an influential union in Nevada sent out literature voicing its disagreements with a hallmark plan offered by presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, the organization said it was the target of online and offline harassment.
The Nevada Culinary Workers Union (NCWU) sent out lit that argued against supporting Sanders’s plan for healthcare, Medicare-for-All. After doing so, the organization’s Secretary-General Geocanda Arguello-Kline said in a statement on Wednesday, a number of the senator’s supporters blasted them with harassing calls and social media posts, Newsweek reported.
“It’s disappointing that Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada simply because our union has provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades,” Arguello-Kline said.
The NCWU provides for its workers its own healthcare plan, which is funded by a trust set up by the organization.
"Let me be very clear: Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement. We don't want them."
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) February 13, 2020
Sanders, for his own part, responded, saying while he disagrees with NCWU’s statements on his healthcare proposal, he recognized that bullying is not tolerable in the debate on the issue.
“Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks,” he said in a statement. “Our campaign is building a multi-generational, multi-racial movement of love, compassion, and justice. We can certainly disagree on issues, but we must do it in a respectful manner.”
Sanders also explained how he felt about harassment that was emanating from his own base of supporters in an interview with PBS NewsHour, making clear that he rejected their methods and didn’t want them being part of his campaign.
“Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement. We don’t want them,” he said.
“And I’m not so sure, to be honest with you, that they are necessarily part of our movement,” he added, pointing out that “the nature of the internet” made it possible that they weren’t actually backers of his campaign.