Senator Bernie Sanders joined striking Verizon workers in New York City yesterday to show his support and attack the company for failing to renegotiate a new contract with its unionized workers. Around 36,000 workers, who have been working without a contract since August, were present at the picket line.
“Thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed,” he said to an charged crowd. “Verizon is one of the largest, most profitable corporations in this country, but they refuse to sit down and negotiate a fair contract.”
Sanders laid into Verizon’s labor practices and accused the company of seeking to take away their workers’ healthcare benefits, cutting costs by outsourcing jobs, and paying executives exorbitant salaries. As it is, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is said to make around 200 times what average Verizon workers are paid.
“This is just another major American cooperation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans,” he said, echoing the anti-corporate message he’s used before in reference to General Electric, JP Morgan and others.
“I know how hard it is, what a difficult decision it is to go out on strike. I know you’ve thought a whole lot about it, and I know your families will pay a price,” he said to the protesters. “Today, you are standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers, you’re standing up for millions of Americans who don’t have a union.”
Many of the workers there were represented by the Communications Workers of America, a 700,000-member strong labor union that endorsed Sanders back in December after members voted decisively in his favor.
The protest comes less than a week before New Yorkers are due to vote in their state’s primary. And, in addition to picking up his first Senate endorsement, Sanders also earned the support of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents 42,000 workers. The New York primary is key to the political future of both Sanders and Hillary Clinton, due to the number of delegates at stake and both of their associations with the state.
Photo: Sceenshot from Reuters.