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"They want to give their CEO $20 million a year in compensation," Bernie Sanders told striking Verizon workers in New York on Wednesday. (Photo: David Becker/AP)

Sanders Responds to Disgruntled CEOs: 'I Welcome Their Contempt'

This is not the first time Bernie Sanders has drawn the ire of corporate honchos

Andrea Germanos

Bernie Sanders' response to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's charge that the Democratic presidential candidate has "contemptible" views? Bring it.

Sanders on Wednesday joined striking Verizon workers on a picket line in New York City. He applauded them, saying, "Today you are standing up—not just for justice for Verizon workers—you are standing up for millions of Americans."

The Manhattan march was one of many the roughly 40,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBW) unions staged on the East Coast to protest what they described as the communication behemoth's "devastating" cuts.

"They want to take away the health benefits that you have earned," Sanders said. "They want to outsource to decent paying jobs. They want to give their CEO $20 million a year in compensation," he told the workers.

McAdam shot back at Sanders' statements, writing in a post on his LinkedIn page that the Vermont senator's "uninformed views are, in a word, contemptible," and arguing that Sanders' claims are detached from reality.

His post rejects the claims "that Verizon doesn't pay its fair share of taxes," and adds, "I challenge Sen. Sanders to show me a company that's done more to invest in America than Verizon."

Sanders responded to the comments, as well as to criticism from General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, tweeting:

McAdam's comments, however, did receive "gushing praise" from fellow executives, according to Zaid Jilani at The Intercept.

A 2014 report from Citizens for Tax Justice found that Verizon was among dozens of companies that, from 2008-2012, paid no federal corporate income tax—a fact that led Sanders to put the company on his list of America's Top 10 Corporate Tax Avoiders.


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