Bernie Sanders joins striking federal contract workers for rally

Bernie Sanders joins striking federal contract workers for rally
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (I-Vt.) joined hundreds of striking workers just blocks from both the White House and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE’s new D.C. hotel Wednesday to call on the president-elect to deliver on his promise of higher-paying jobs.

Many of the striking workers fill low-wage jobs for federal contractors in the nation’s capital, such as cafeteria employees who work in the Capitol building. They’re calling for a minimum wage of $15.

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"This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world,” Sanders told the crowd on a chilly December morning. “It is not a radical idea to say that if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty.”

“We’re telling Mr. Trump that when millions of us stand together we are going to win,” Sanders added. "No one is going to stop us.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is the favorite to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Hollywood celebrity Danny Glover also spoke to the striking workers.

Ellison told the striking workers not to give up the fight: “If we’ve got to get arrested, we’ll get arrested,” he said.

Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanHouse passes sweeping defense policy bill Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Defense bill takes center stage WHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill MORE (D-Wis.), who also spoke at the protest, called on Trump to issue an executive order demanding federal contractors that do business with the government pay their workers no less than $15 an hour.

President Obama issued a similar executive order in 2014, raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour, but many low-wage advocates would like to see the White House go much further and hike it to $15.

Trump has expressed mixed feelings about raising the minimum wage, consistently saying instead that he wants to create higher-paying jobs naturally by developing a healthy, growing economy.

Any minimum wage increase made through executive order would only apply to federal contractors. Congress must agree before the $7.25 national minimum wage can be raised for all workers.