Citing Urgent Need for 'Political Revolution,' Major Union Endorses Sanders
'Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long,' says Communications Workers of America
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Thursday endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president in the 2016 election, citing the need for a candidate who will "break with politics-as-usual and fight for America's working people."
The endorsement comes after a three-month voting period, with tens of thousands of the union's 700,000 members casting ballots. Its former president, Larry Cohen, is an adviser to Sanders' campaign. It also comes hours after his chief rival for the nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, picked up the endorsement of billionaire Warren Buffett.
"CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution – and that is just what Americans need today." —Chris Shelton, CWA PresidentCWA is now the third national labor organization to throw its weight behind Sanders, who was also recently endorsed by National Nurses United and the American Postal Workers Union.
"CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for President," said the union's president, Chris Shelton. "I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first. Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long. CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution – and that is just what Americans need today."
In response to CWA's announcement, Sanders said, "Brothers and sisters, let me thank the 700,000 members of the Communications Workers of America for their strong support." He reiterated his campaign promises to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and eliminate college tuition.
"We’re going to create an economy that works for the middle class and working people of America—not just the billionaires," he added.
Sanders on Thursday also picked up an endorsement from the grassroots political group Democracy for America, which boasts roughly one million members. The endorsement marks the first time in the organization's history that it officially announced support for a presidential candidate.
"Bernie Sanders is an unyielding populist progressive who decisively won Democracy for America members’ first presidential primary endorsement because of his lifelong commitment to taking on income inequality and the wealthy and powerful interests who are responsible for it," DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said Thursday. "With today’s endorsement, DFA members are joining Bernie’s 'political revolution' and working to take it both to the White House and up-and-down the ballot, in races coast to coast."
DFA's founder, Howard Dean, in October endorsed Sanders' chief rival for the nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Remarking on the divergent decisions of the organization and its leader, Sanders said, "It is no secret that the founder of DFA—my friend and fellow Vermonter former Gov. Howard Dean—has chosen not to support my candidacy. Yet the leadership of DFA allowed a fair and free vote to take place which we won. That’s pretty impressive."
*Correction: An earlier version of this piece inaccurately reported the number of national unions that had so far endorsed Sanders for president.