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ATU Endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for President

Media Contact: David Roscow
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Silver Spring, MD – Pointing to the urgent need for a candidate who fights for working families; who stands up to Wall Street and the billionaire class, who will break with politics as usual, the Amalgamated Transit Union General Executive Board voted Monday to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President.

“The sincerity of Bernie Sanders and his long standing fidelity to the issues that are so important to working people are what convinced us that standing with Bernie is standing with the 99% of America that has been left out of the mainstream public debate, cheated out of our jobs and denied the true meaning of the American dream,” said ATU International President Larry Hanley in making the announcement.

“His unabashed support of civil rights, public services, free tuition at public colleges, increases in Social Security and the minimum wage, make him an ideal candidate. But the Labor Movement owes Senator Sanders so much for his consistent opposition to right wing programs and his championing of first-rate healthcare for all – which is already the global standard,” Hanley continued.

ATU will be recommending that ATU members vote for Bernie in the primaries and caucuses that remain. The union also plans to mobilize members across the country in support of Sanders’ campaign

“We reject the idea that these vital programs are unattainable and resent the notion that we as a country can afford unlimited and unquestioned expenses for war, but must withstand the Tea Party Test on every investment in our own people. The attempt to belittle what so many of us believe in and what Senator Sanders has brought to the national stage is antithetical to the progressive history of the Democratic Party.”

Hanley recalled the brave words of Robert F. Kennedy in South Africa in 1966 in announcing ATU’s support of Senator Sanders:  

“‘There is discrimination in this world, and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers; that they seek – as we do – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.’

“Today we remember those words and are proud to stand with the candidate who was arrested fighting for civil rights, had the judgment and courage to vote against a senseless war, stood up to the drug companies, the banks and Wall Street and remained loyal to the common struggling worker. In the spirit of Bobby Kennedy we ask our members to stand with Bernie Sanders.”

ATU is the largest labor organization representing transportation workers in United States and Canada. With more than 192,000 members in 253 local unions spread across 47 states and nine provinces, including 3,000 workers at Greyhound Lines, Inc., ATU members work as bus drivers, light rail operators, maintenance and clerical personnel and other transit and municipal employees.

“This is no ordinary time in U.S. history and our nation is crying out for a leader who owes nothing to the corporate interests responsible for undermining the American middle class,” says Hanley.  “Our executive board recognizes what’s at stake in this election and have made the bold decision of endorsing Bernie Sanders for President. Bernie is right for working people and right for America."