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For Always Making It Clear 'Which Side He Is On,' Bernie Sanders Nabs First National Union Endorsement

"Bernie understands the need for workers to have a democratic, independent union movement that is unafraid to challenge corporate America's stranglehold on our economy."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Iowa Federation Labor Convention on August 21, 2019 in Altoona, Iowa.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Iowa Federation Labor Convention on August 21, 2019 in Altoona, Iowa. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday nabbed his first national union endorsement of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, from the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

The endorsement came after a speech to the union's national convention in Pittsburgh wherein Sanders said that corporate greed "is an illness, it is an addiction."

"If the corporate CEOs don't get the treatment that they need," said Sanders, "we will provide the treatment for them."

In a statement provided to Common Dreams, UE general president Peter Knowlton said that Sanders "understands the need for workers to have a democratic, independent union movement that is unafraid to challenge corporate America's stranglehold on our economy."

"From four decades of actively supporting UE members and other workers in Vermont, to his vocal support for our 1,700 members in Erie, Pennsylvania who went on a nine-day strike this past winter, Bernie Sanders has always made it clear which side he is on," said Knowlton.

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The union endorsement is the second national one of the cycle, The New York Times reported, after former Vice President Joe Biden netted the endorsement of the national firefighters' union shortly after announcing his run in April.

As far as Sanders' endorsement Monday, the Times said, it's "somewhat symbolic"—but:

it comes as several Democratic candidates, including Mr. Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joseph R. Biden Jr., are jockeying for support from organized labor, a critical constituency especially with such a crowded presidential field. And it follows a flurry of activity from the Sanders campaign to aggressively affirm its on-the-ground support for workers, including a rally on Sunday in Louisville, Ky., with striking AT&T workers. Last week, Mr. Sanders also released an ambitious plan that included setting a goal of doubling union membership in his first term as president.

Sanders, in a statement, said he was "humbled to receive the endorsement of my union brothers and sisters from UE."

"We are running a true working class campaign, which speaks directly to workers and confronts the massive inequality we see in our society today," said Sanders.

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