Overnight Tech: Clinton, Sanders back striking Verizon workers

LEDE: Since 6:00 a.m. this morning, tens of thousands of Verizon workers have been on strike.

Close to 40,000 workers -- Verizon says roughly 36,000 -- represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are striking over disputed elements of the new contract they are negotiating with the telecom company. They're largely based on the East Coast and in the company's wireline business.

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The fault lines are familiar. The workers say Verizon wants to ship jobs overseas and force workers to spend months away from home. Verizon says the unions are trying to throw a wrench in the negotiations.

And there's a 2016 angle. Sanders, whose candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination was endorsed by CWA, has long supported the workers, appearing on a picket line last year. He backed the strike on Tuesday and on Wednesday protested with workers. "Brothers and sisters, thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed," he told them, per ABC News. "Today you are standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers, you are standing up for millions of Americans who don't have a union."

The Hill's Jessie Hellman has more on Sanders joining the Verizon picket line.

Sanders's rival for the nomination, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump Fox News poll shows Dems with edge ahead of midterms Poll: Democrats in position to retake the House MORE, is also supporting the workers. "Verizon should come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer for their workers," Clinton said in a statement. "To preserve and grow America's middle class, we need to protect good wages and benefits, including retirement security. And we should be doing all we can to keep good-paying jobs with real job security in New York. Instead, Verizon wants to outsource more and more jobs." Clinton was endorsed on Wednesday morning, before her statement, by the New York affiliate of IBEW.

It remains to be seen how long the strike will last. A Verizon work stoppage in 2011 lasted for two weeks. Read more on the Verizon strike here.

BERNIE BEEF: Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam took to LinkedIn to blast Sanders for his rhetoric on the issue. "Sen. Sanders speaks of a "moral economy" for America – one that respects and maintains the dignity inherent in good, middle-class jobs," McAdam wrote. "He seems to think that can only happen by ignoring the transformational forces reshaping the communications industry. But 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." Read the whole thing here. And here's The Hill's Rebecca Savransky on Verizon hitting back.

WHITE HOUSE ON TWITTER AT TWITTER: White House press secretary Josh Earnest held a question and answer on Twitter using the company's new video app. The White House spokesman did the chat live from Twitter's new headquarters in Washington, D.C. You can read through it in Earnest's feed.

'BEST INTEREST' OF EMAIL PRIVACY NEGOTIATORS: After years of delay, a burst of activity Wednesday helped advance the Email Privacy Act, with committee passage. A vote is scheduled at the end of the month. While privacy advocates might have blamed the delay on intransigence on the part of Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteHouse Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ House Judiciary chair: Nellie Ohr is cooperating, will testify MORE (R-Va.), he said the real breakthrough came when stakeholders finally agreed to negotiate changes. "It has been a long time getting people to come to the conclusion that that is in their best interest," he said.

Mario has more on the breakthrough here. Click here for what's next for the bill.

NAPSTER CREATOR GIVES $250M FOR CANCER RESEARCH: Sean Parker, who created Napster and was an early executive at Facebook, on Wednesday announced a $250 million grant to pursue a field of cancer research called immunotherapy. USA Today reported the donations would be spread across six cancer centers across the country. Parker has made a number of massive contributions for philanthropic projects over the past few years.

JOURNALIST SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS: Journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison for the three counts of criminal hacking he was convicted of last year. He was convicted of passing login credential for the Los Angeles Times' website to hacking group Anonymous. He said on Twitter he plans to ask for a stay on the sentence pending the outcome of an appeal.

 

ON TAP:

At 9 a.m., the Center for Data Innovation will hold a talk on the Open Government Data Act.

At 3:30 p.m., ITIF will hold a talk on why policymakers should protect public speech online.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The House will take up a popular email privacy bill during the last week of April, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday.

A draft of the long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill officially arrived on Wednesday.

Lawmakers tangled Wednesday over a bill that would impose a hard budget cap on the Lifeline subsidy program, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently expanded to cover broadband internet service.

An aide to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE on Wednesday fired back at Mark Zuckerberg after the Facebook founder apparently took a jab at the Republican presidential front-runner's rhetoric and immigration proposals.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton joined rival Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.) in positioning herself with workers striking against Verizon on Wednesday.

 

Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com

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