Bernie Sanders joins Verizon picketers in Brooklyn

After hundreds of workers walked out of their job on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders unexpectedly joined them to protest.

By Bronte Price, PoliticKING

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined nearly 40,000 Verizon workers on Wednesday after they walked off their jobs in protest. Sanders was greeted with cheers and open arms when he unexpectedly showed up alongside protesters in Brooklyn to show solidarity with the striking landline and cable workers. Sanders spoke to the crowd saying, "Brothers and sisters, thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed.” His statement was met with overwhelming applause.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), recently endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. Workers from the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), went on strike early Wednesday morning, gathering at over 20 locations in New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Verizon management has not yet to negotiate satisfactory terms after the workers contracts expired in August. The workers are saying that Verizon is pushing for ways to manage pricier health care for its retired and current workers and "greater flexibility" over its employees.

Hillary Clinton also spoke out against Verizon's management, siding with the strikers. "Verizon should come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer for their workers," she said in a statement. Clinton added, ”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."

David Doran, a field technician for Verizon told reporters, ”We're striking for a fair contract.” He added, ”The company wants to outsource our work to other countries. We believe there's enough work here that can be done by the people in the union now."

President of Verizon's wireline network operations, Bob Mudge, said that management was expecting the strike. "Let's make it clear, we are ready for a strike," Mudge said. Verizon trained thousands of non-union workers and shifted staff around to different locations in order to fill spots which were made vacant by picketers.

Here’s what Jesse Ventura has to say about labor unions:

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