Bernie Sanders Courts Organized Labor, Leads In Latest New Hampshire Poll

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders jumped to a nine-point lead over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a new pair of NBC/Marist polls, which show Sanders has gained support from 41 percent of Democratic voters, and is trailed by Hillary Clinton at 32 percent and Joe Biden at 16 percent, NBC News reported.

Although Clinton still manages to hold on to her previous advantage over Sanders in Iowa, her lead has been chiseled away from its high of 24 points in July, to just 11 points in the latest New Hampshire poll. Bernie Sanders has been drawing big crowds in cities around the country in recent months, vowing to “take on the billionaire class,” protect American jobs, and rein in large corporations; a message that is resonating with working people nationwide.

According to the Huffington Post, Sanders’ message resonates with union workers as well, enough to convince union leaders to stall in choosing which candidate to endorse.

“Labor for Bernie is urging AFSCME and other national unions to put the brakes on formal endorsements. Petitions are circulating, including one to the Service Employees International Union, which has two million members, urging leaders to stay on the sidelines for now.”

At the start of this Labor Day weekend, the Vermont senator put his relationship with organized labor at the front and center of his campaign by taking to the picket lines at a Penford Products plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Time reported. Employees at the firm have worked without a union contract since it expired August 1, while the company pushes them to “settle for lower wages, longer hours, cuts in overtime pay, fewer holidays and vacation days,” Sanders argued as he addressed a crowd of laborers after walking the picket line.

“Everybody knows that’s greed and everybody knows that greed is destroying the United States of America.”

While some may view Sanders’ appearance as little more than an obvious bid to court organized labor and gain support for his 2015 presidential bid, the reality is that Bernie Sanders has actually spent decades building strong relationships with unions. He regularly walks picket lines, attends luncheons and has already won the support of National Nurses United. Sanders also drew attention this July when union members took to social media outlets and voiced their dissatisfaction when Clinton won endorsements from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, as well as the American Federation of Teachers, the Huffington Post revealed.

Sanders and Clinton attended union picnics and parades in Iowa and New Hampshire over Labor Day weekend, as the competition heats up in the race to gain support from major national labor unions, such as the AFSCME, prior to upcoming meetings this fall where leaders will decide if they will endorse one of the Democratic candidates.

[Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images]