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Staffers for Sanders campaign accused of posing as Culinary Union workers

Updated Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 | 5:32 p.m.

Staffers from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign posed as Culinary Union workers to gain access to employee-only areas at several Strip hotels, the campaign has confirmed.

The union said Thursday morning that it had received multiple reports of the staffers accessing the employee dining rooms of at least four properties by wearing yellow union buttons. Thursday evening, Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, confirmed that campaign organizers had entered the dining rooms and said the campaign reminded staffers Thursday that the behavior was “not appropriate and that they should not do it again.”

“In addition, I have spoken with the political director of the Culinary Union to express the campaign’s regret at this having occurred and our support of the union’s fight for workers’ rights,” he said in a statement. “The political director was extremely gracious and we are glad to have this resolved.”

The union said it had spoken with the campaign and that the situation has been resolved, a change of tune from earlier in the day when the union had condemned the reports.

“The Culinary Union button that hundreds of thousands of union members have proudly worn to work every day represents 80 years of struggle and fighting for justice,” the union’s secretary-treasurer, Geoconda Arguello-Kline, said in a statement earlier in the day. “We strongly condemn anyone falsifying their affiliation with the Culinary Union in order to gain access to properties and we will cooperate with casinos and hotels so that this matter is fully resolved.”

The union recently announced it would not endorse a presidential candidate before the Nevada caucuses, instead focusing on registering its members to vote ahead of the November general election.

With Sanders and Hillary Clinton facing a tight race in Iowa and Sanders leading in New Hampshire polls, political observers have said Nevada could be a crucial win for either campaign.

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