Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders( I-Vt .) won the endorsement of the American Postal Worker Union on Thursday, dedicating the self-described democratic socialist a boost as he tries more subsistence from organized labor in the Democratic primary.
APWU represents 200,000 U.S. Postal Service the workers and retirees. It’s the second major national union and member of the AFL-CIO labor federation to endorse Sanders over rival and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Sanders “stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and trade other workers throughout the country, ” said Mark Dimondstein, the union’s chairman, in a statement. The endorsement came from the union’s 13 -member executive board.
Although he’s one of unions’ closest allies in Congress, Sanders still trails well behind Clinton when it comes to official backing from organized labor. The former secretary of state has already nabbed endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, all of them huge public-sector unions.
The other national union to endorse Sanders was National Nurses United. The biggest fish — the AFL-CIO itself — is unlikely to endorse while the primary is still being disputed.
Sanders has long been a vocal backer of a robust postal service, particularly during the postal reform debate of recent years. APWU views itself as fighting a battle against postal service privatization, and it counts the Vermont senator as perhaps its leading defender.
As the postal service hemorrhages millions in losses — largely due to unique fund mandates placed upon it by Congress — Sanders has staunchly resistedthe closure of postal facilities and cuts in postal service, such as Saturday delivery. He is also a leading supporter of the concept of postal banking, which would allow post office to provide small loans and compete with payday lenders. Postal banking is a top issue for APWU, and Sanders has sought to make it a campaign issue.
In his statement, Dimondstein noted Sanders’ long history of standing with workers on picket lines, as well as his support for their own nationals $15 per hour minimum wage. Sanders spoke at a protest against Verizon last month that was held by the Communications Worker of America union, and he joined a Fight for $15 rally outside the U.S. Capitol building earlier this week.
“We should judge nominees not by their political party , not by what they say , not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do, ” Dimondstein said. “[ Sanders] strolls the walk.”
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