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Tom Perez on MSNBC's "Meet The Press." Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez spent over 20 hours on the phone this weekend trying to save Thursday's debate from crumbling, per a source familiar, after a labor dispute prompted the presidential candidates to threaten a boycott.

Why it matters: The DNC already switched the venue once because of another labor dispute, and it would be nearly impossible to find a new location now.

  • Internally, Democrats are hopeful a deal will be made today or tomorrow — and some DNC staffers are already heading to Los Angeles this afternoon.

The backstory: Democrats think Perez is the best positioned to get a deal done in part because he was labor secretary under Barack Obama.

  • Perez led the weekend negotiations, calling leaders from UNITE HERE Local 11 — a labor union that represents more than 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona — and Sodexo, the company that employs those workers and handles food service operations for Loyola Marymount University.
  • The union is angry about "stalled contract negotiations for food service workers at LMU," per an advisory letter sent out last week.

In an internal DNC meeting Monday, with a small group of surrogates to discuss the upcoming debate, Perez "made it clear he's been working the phones constantly," according to a source in the room. The source added there's no guarantee on the timeline of settling this, but described the mood as "upbeat" and "positive."

The big picture: Democrats have been zeroing in on labor unions throughout this presidential primary, recognizing their power as a voting bloc.

  • Several Democratic candidates attended the Teamsters presidential forum earlier this month in Iowa, and others attended the Service Employees International Union presidential forum in October. 

Be smart: Historically, members of labor unions have been white working-class men — a decisive voting bloc for Trump's 2016 victory and one that Democrats have been laser-focused on winning back ever since. (That demographic has changed over the years, with black workers making up a larger share than white workers.)

  • While Trump trailed Hillary Clinton by only 8 points among households with a union member, that was the best margin for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984, per the Washington Post.
  • For context, Obama won union households by 18 percentage points in the 2012 election against Mitt Romney. 

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.