Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders joined Brooklyn picket lines this morning as he stood in solidarity with thousands of frustrated Verizon Wireless employees across the country.
Workers from 10 states took the streets in strike on Wednesday, April 13, speaking out against what they say is Verizon’s continuous refusal to negotiate new contacts with the workers’ union, the Communication Workers of America (CWA).
Sanders joined crowds outside a downtown Brooklyn Verizon store, located at 395 Flatbush Avenue Extension, to accuse the big-name cell company of being yet another corporation working for its own interests instead of the interests – and basic needs – of its workers.
“Verizon is one of the largest, most profitable corporations in this country, but they refuse to sit down and negotiate a fair contract,” Sanders told the crowd. “They want to take away the health benefits that you have earned; they want to outsource decent paying jobs; they want to give their CEO $20 million a year; and they want to avoid paying federal income taxes.
“In other words, this is just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans,” he went on, thanking picketers for their “courage” in “standing up for justice against corporate greed.”
The Democratic candidate is no stranger to the fight against Verizon. Sanders joined Verizon Wireless employees in a similar protest back in October, and spoke to striking workers in Buffalo on Tuesday.
Preceding this morning’s cross-country strike, fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton issued a statement in support of the CWA, as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, another group entangled in Verizon employees’ fight for fairer contracts.
“Verizon should come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer for their workers,” said Clinton. “To preserve and grow America’s middle class, we need to protect good wages and benefits, including retirement security. And we should be doing all we can to keep good-paying jobs with real job security in New York.”