Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders accepted an endorsement Wednesday from New York City’s public transit workers, trotting out the nod just after he earned the support of his first fellow sitting U.S. senator.
Sanders, who represents Vermont in the Senate but was born and raised in Brooklyn, stood with members of the Transport Workers Union’s Local 100 at a news conference in the borough’s downtown section.
Some waved signs with their union’s logo and his campaign slogan, “Feel the Bern.”
“It is the trade unions of today that are the last lines of defense against a vicious corporate agenda that is working hard to destroy the middle class,” Sanders said alongside the members.
To applause, he slammed the “disastrous trade agreements that have cost us millions of good-paying jobs.”
TWU Local 100 has 42,000 members.
“We are blue-collar New York,” Local 100 president John Samuelsen said, calling Sanders a “true champion for our cause.”
He said Sanders has been fighting against the “powers that be” all his life.
Sanders highlighted the union’s importance to New Yorkers in running a “high-quality mass transportation system to get them to work.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) endorsed Sanders on Wednesday with an op-ed published in The New York Times, calling his colleague a “determined leader in taking on the concentration of campaign cash from the mega-wealthy that is corrupting the vision of opportunity embedded in our Constitution.”
Sanders lags by double digits in polling of New York voters behind former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Still, he said Wednesday morning, “I believe we’re going to win here in New York City, that we’re going to win here in New York State.”
He was to hold a concert in the evening in Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park with guests such as the rock band Vampire Weekend.
Clinton was to speak Wednesday afternoon at the National Action Network’s annual convention in midtown Manhattan.
The Westchester County resident has the endorsements of dozens of sitting U.S. senators and labor unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, the AFSCME, or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the SEIU, or the Service Employees International Union.