From underneath an umbrella, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on women's march: Trump 'made a big mistake' Trump speaks with top Dem about high drug prices Sanders supports women marchers with tweet MORE (I-Vt.) on Tuesday cheered on dozens of striking Senate cafeteria workers as rain poured down.
“In America, today what we are seeing is the richest people becoming richer, and almost everybody else becoming poorer,” said Sanders, casting away the umbrella so he could motion with both arms toward the crowd.
The Senate cafeteria workers are demanding higher wages from the federal contractor that employs them. They also want the right to form a union.
Their strike was coordinated with rallies by fast food workers in hundreds of cities around the country who are demanding hourly wages of at least $15.
It is the largest fast food strike to date, according to union organizers.
The nationwide protests are timed to pressure Republicans to address the issue during Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate.
The Senate cafeteria workers blame lawmakers for doing business with a company that pays what they consider low wages.
Sanders was the first Democratic presidential candidate to support the Senate workers in their effort to raise the minimum wage to $15. He has introduced legislation in response to those demands, though it is unlikely to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress.
"What we are saying is 'enough is enough,' ” Sanders said. "Workers who work for the United States government deserve the right to raise their children in security. They deserve the right to earn enough to live in a decent apartment or a decent house. They deserve the right to bargain collectively."