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 7,500 striking workers put on a massive show of solidarity on the sixth day of their job action.
There was no immediate response from Verizon or McAdam to Sanders, but this was not the first time the Vermont senator has stood-up for the strikers.
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 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.
"Verizon makes $1.5 billion per month, but it's not willing to negotiate a contract that allows its workers to put food on the table and care for their families," City Comptroller Scott Stringer said.
Mark-Viverito said the City Council "stands in solidarity with the Communication Workers of America, who deserve a fair contract."
"New York City is, and always will be, a union town and we must make sure these good union jobs remain in our city," she said.
Striking workers up in Buffalo got a visit from Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also a Democrat, came out to support striking workers in her hometown of Cambridge.
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.