With less than a week until the New York primary, it’s just been released that the New York Transit Workers Union has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for president.
Sanders is a self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist, and has used his campaign as the foundation for a grassroots movement of social change. The formerly Independent politician is known to be a man of the people, so it’s no surprise the NY Transit Workers Union is beginning to #FeelTheBern.
Sanders’ platform specifically emphasizes the importance of unions and worker co-ops, stating that:
‘Labor unions and worker co-ops must be supported and encouraged.’
Sanders went to Brooklyn on Wednesday, paying a special visit to the union hall to pick up the endorsement.
Union president John Samuelsen formally addressed the crowd as he endorsed Sanders, beginning with this statement:
‘Brothers and sisters, there is no doubt that America needs a jolt, New York a jolt, working families need a jolt, and business-as-usual politics are not going to give us the jolt that we need.’
Graciously, Sen. Sanders thanked the union members for their support in endorsing his campaign. Sanders even predicted his campaign will win next Tuesday’s primary.
‘We all know in this room that you don’t have a great and growing middle class unless you have a great and growing trade union.’
As a man who has fought his whole life to defend the middle class, he had this to say about the absolute necessity of unions:
‘Unions represent the ‘last lines of defense against a vicious corporate agenda that is working hard to destroy the middle class.’
Sanders went on to address his plans for infrastructure spending, in part as a retaliation to critics who claim his $1 trillion spending proposal is unfeasible:
‘Our infrastructure is crumbling.’
Sanders noted that roads, bridges and mass transportation, including rail systems in large cities such as New York City, are facing tremendous problems.
‘We need the best mass transportation system in the world. It is essential to our economy. Millions of people in this city depend’ on such systems to get around.
We need great mass transit systems; we need a great rail system; we’ve got to invest in those systems.’
Transit Workers Union Local 100 represents 38,000 members and 26,000 retirees. This is a huge endorsement for Sanders, and is very much needed leading up to New York’s primary on Tuesday April 19th. With Clinton currently ahead of Sanders by approximately 12 points, support of this magnitude is crucial to a Sanders’ victory in New York.
Sanders’ presidential running mate and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently criticized the Senator for claiming he thought the subway in New York took tokens. The 74-year-old also stated he hasn’t ridden the subway in about a year. Regardless of his mistake, Clinton’s transit escapade earlier in April indicates that she likely doesn’t frequent the subway, either.
Clinton publicly promoted herself on a subway ride during a media tour last week. Activity pertaining to campaigning or endorsing oneself is directly prohibited by a transit rule that states no person “shall engage in any non transit uses” while on the subway. Maybe Clinton ought to remember that when you point a finger, there are three pointing right back at you! Saturday Night Live also mocked Clinton for her unsuccessful attempts at swiping her MetroCard before entering the subway.
Clinton, the former Senator of New York, picked up an endorsement from The New York Daily News earlier this week. Sanders’ also received support from Senate colleague Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who endorsed the Senator of Vermont on Wednesday.
Sen. Sanders joined Verizon Wireless employees on the picket line in Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon, demonstrating he really can walk his talk.
(h/t: The Hill)