Organizers representing Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) have infiltrated members-only union dining halls in what is being portrayed as an overzealous attempt to organize votes ahead of the Nevada primary, according to Ralston Reports who broke the story Thursday. All three Democratic presidential candidates have courted an endorsement from Culinary Union Local 226, a major player in Nevada politics. A week ago, the union announced that it wouldn’t endorse any candidate. Days later, operatives campaigning in support of Bernie Sanders were seen wearing fake yellow union buttons and entering the break areas in at least four Las Vegas hotels.  

Update: the Sanders Campaign has confirmed the actions of its staff and apologized the Culinary Union. 

"It appears that some of our organizers were reaching out to Local 226 members in their dining spaces," said Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver in an email to the Latin Times. "We have reminded our staff that that is no 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. The political director was extremely gracious and we are glad to have this resolved."

Below: the original Latin Times story, minus a dated quote from the Sanders Campaign that said it was gathering facts on the incident: 

Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline confirmed in a statement that the people wearing the yellow buttons were Sanders staffers. She condemned the use of false representation and emphasized that Local 226 is has not endorsed Sanders or any other candidate.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Around 57,000 union workers use the various dining halls in casinos along the Las Vegas strip that were reportedly accessed by the Sanders’ staffers. Union members complained to Ralston that outsiders had entered the spaces under false pretenses, describing the the dining areas as their turf.

Briggs said in his email that the campaign respected the union’s non-endorsement, but said that it would continue to court its members as a part of the February primary campaign.

“We have the deepest respect for Local 226 and [its] organizational neutrality.  But of course we are reaching out to its members about Senator Sanders' campaign to create a future to believe in,” he said.

A large proportion of the culinary union membership includes Latino and immigrant workers. Bernie Sanders was the first candidate to target potential Democratic primary voters with Spanish-language ads. All three campaigns have Hispanic-focused outreach specialists working in the state, many of them former immigration activists.

Hillary Clinton spoke to members of Local 226 at a protest against Trump Tower working conditions ahead the Democratic debate there on Oct. 12, as the Latin Times reported. Sen. Sanders and former Gov. Martin O'Malley have also addressed the membership. In 2012, the union provided outreach and voter drives in support of Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

The stakes are extremely high in the Nevada primary, worth 35 delegates in the Democratic presidential primary. With the vote coming Feb. 20, organizers in three campaigns have opened offices in the state and deployed legions of staffers and volunteers.

With everything to win in the contested early primary states, the campaigns might be playing like they have nothing to lose.