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Bernie Sanders rallies with striking Verizon workers

The Vermont senator joined a picket line, grabbed the bullhorn, and cheered on a throng of Verizon employees Monday.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks to Communication Workers of America (CWA) picketers in midtown Manhattan, N.Y., April 18, 2016. (Photo by Mary Altaffer/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks to Communication Workers of America (CWA) picketers in midtown Manhattan, N.Y., April 18, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined striking Verizon workers Monday on the picket line in Manhattan and praised them for standing "up for justice and against corporate greed."

Grabbing a bullhorn, Sanders told the cheering throng, "We will not tolerate large profitable corporations sending jobs to low-wage countries....throwing American workers out of the streets."

Sanders said Verizon was cutting workers' health care benefits while paying CEO Lowell McAdam $18 million in salary and compensation.

"That is the kind of greed that is destroying the American middle class," Sanders said while the workers gathered on Seventh Ave. and 36th St. roared with approval.

Sanders delivered his broadside ahead of a rally in Times Square where thousands of striking workers were expected to put on a massive show of solidarity on the sixth day of their job action.

There was no immediate response from Verizon or McAdam, but this was not the first time Sanders has stood-up for the strikers.

Sanders got a rock star reception last Wednesday when he visited the picket line in Brooklyn. Many of the strikers belong to the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which has endorsed Sanders.

His rival Hillary Clinton also gave a shout-out of support to the strikers. But so far none of the Republican presidential candidates have weighed in on the side of the workers.

In Times Square, the Verizon workers were expected to be joined by dozens of New York City elected officials, including Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and others — all of them Democrats.

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Warning that Verizon was planning to outsource their jobs abroad and frustrated by lack of movement on a contract, some 40,000 landline and cable Verizon workers walked off their jobs last week from Massachusetts to Virginia. Workers said they've been without a contract since August.

Last week, after Sanders sided with the workers, McAdam in a LinkedIn blog post slammed the candidate for his "uninformed views."

"Contrary to Sen. Sanders' contention, our proposals do not call for mass layoffs or shipping jobs overseas. Rather, we've asked for more flexibility in routing calls and consolidating some of our call centers, some of which employ a handful of people," the CEO said, directing readers to review Verizon's proposal.

"Nostalgia for the rotary phone era won't save American jobs, any more than ignoring the global forces reshaping the auto industry saved the Detroit auto makers," McAdam added.

McAdam, however, did not mention his salary, which is 300 times more in salary and compensation than what the average Verizon Wireless worker makes.

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