Sanders wins endorsement of California union

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign won the endorsement of a key California union Tuesday as it works to gin up support in the crucial Super Tuesday state. 

Sanders earned the support of the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) union, the nation’s largest Communications Workers of America (CWA) chapter. The group, which represents nearly 17,000 employees across the University of California system, announced its endorsement after 66 percent of its members decided to back Sanders in an internal vote. 

“Senator Sanders has fought for labor for decades and empowers workers to fight for what is just and deserved,” said UPTE-CWA 9119 President Jamie McDole. “He stands against privatization of education, and as a union that represents nearly 17,000 higher education employees and educators on 13 public university and community college campuses, the fight is a reality for us. It’s time for a candidate who puts people first.” 

The endorsement comes at a critical time for the union, which just reached a new agreement with the University of California system for salary increases, overtime pay and protections on health care premiums. 

Sanders, a staunch progressive who has railed against corporate efforts to curtail unions’ power, has launched a full court press to win the support of labor groups. The Vermont Independent released a plan in August that he says would double union membership in his first term, among other things. 

He has already racked up several endorsements from labor groups, including the United Teachers Los Angeles, National Nurses United, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and National Union of Healthcare Workers. He has also appeared alongside striking workers across the country while on the campaign trial, often to demand higher pay for workers. 

“I’m honored to receive UPTE-CWA 9119’s support today,” said Sanders. “The labor movement helped build the middle class in this country, and strong unions are key to reviving it today. As president, I’ll continue to stand on the side of workers and unions like UPTE-CWA 9119 in the fight for a fair and just economy that works for all of us.”

The endorsement from the California union is a key win for Sanders, who is currently locked in a high-profile battle with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for the 2020 primary field’s progressive mantle.

The Golden State is also set to be a key primary battleground, holding its primary on March 3, dubbed Super Tuesday due to the amount of nominating contests held that day. California will allocate a whopping 415 pledged delegates based on the primary’s result, making the race a top target for either front-runner to cement their standing or for middle-tier candidates to make up ground.

Polling shows Sanders in a tightly packed top tier in the California primary with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The RealClearPolitics polling average in the state shows Biden with 23.5 percent, Sanders with 23.3 percent and Warren at 20.8 percent.

Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden

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