PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was a quickly rearranged schedule change, but U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane dropped by the Wyndham Grand in Pittsburgh on Monday to receive the endorsement of the UE, one of America’s most liberal and independent unions.
“You have stood up for working people all over America,” Sanders told the members.
“You have taken on the most powerful special interests in this country.”
“If there was ever a time in the history of this country when the working class of America had to stand up and tell the corporate elite that this country belongs to all of us, and not just the one percent, this is that moment.”
It was a classic Sanders speech, denouncing the growing income inequality between the very rich and the rest of us.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano reports
“We can have a nation which does not have a huge gap between the very rich and everybody else, where income and wealth inequality is growing, where three people have more wealth than the bottom half of America.”
“What the UE says and what I say is that that is not acceptable. We will create a government and an economy that work for all of us.”
Sanders says the decline of the middle class is the result of corporate greed so that the top one percent can have more than 92 percent of Americans combined.
WATCH: Sen. Sanders’ Full Speech —
“Most candidates and certainly the corporate media does not talk about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country.”
“As the president of the United States, I not only will talk about it, but we will do something about it.”
Sanders paid tribute to the UE union workers of Wabtec, based in Wilmerding, after a strike was called last February when Wabtec tried to use a merger with GE Transportation in Erie to cut worker benefits.
— Jon Delano KDKA (@JonDelano) August 26, 2019
“When Wabtec wanted to rip up your union contract after it merged with GE and force workers to work 12-hour shifts without overtime pay, force employees to work on holidays and weekends, and replace full-time workers with low-paid temporary workers,” noted Sanders, “all the while it gave $120 million in bonuses to the executives at Wabtec and GE.”
The UE strike forced a compromise with a company that, Sanders says, was afflicted with corporate greed, common in too many corporations.
“That greed is an illness. It is an addiction. If the corporate CEOs don’t get the treatment that they need, we will provide the treatment for them.”
Sanders received numerous standing ovations from union members for his remarks, and he laid into President Trump.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano reports
“We have a president who is not only a pathological liar, but we have a president who is doing something no president in my lifetime has ever done, and that is very intentionally trying to divide the American people.”
Clearly, there is a lot of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders from the UE union. But is it enough to deliver the Democratic nomination and the presidency to him?
The union leadership thinks so.
“Pennsylvania is a swing state, so clearly western Pennsylvania is very strong,” UE national president Peter Knowlton told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
“People call this neck of the woods Trump country. We don’t buy it.”