On Thursday, thousands of workers from the University of California launched their third strike in 11 months.
As The Sacramento Bee reported, picketers marched all day at the UC Davis Medical Center campus, and protesters gathered around 10 campuses and five medical centers statewide.
According to UPI, the workers protested over concerns of their jobs being outsourced.
Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders used his campaign infrastructure to encourage his supporters to join the protesting workers, HuffPost reports.
In what is being described as an unusual move for a presidential campaign, Sanders sent out targeted emails and text messages to his supporters, urging them to join the workers.
“Tens of thousands of workers in the University of California system are standing up this Thursday to stop the outsourcing and privatization of union jobs. We are hoping you can join these workers tomorrow,” an email sent by the Sanders campaign said.
John de Los Angeles, a spokesperson for the American Federation of State, praised Bernie Sanders, stating that the Democrat’s initiative had worked.
“I deployed a press team across the state and was in contact with them. They were sending me pictures of random supporters out on the line because they had received an email or text from the Bernie campaign. That happened all over the place,” he said.
Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants, also praised Sanders. In a Twitter message posted on Saturday, Nelson said that “using campaign infrastructure to exercise the power of people coming together is living union.”
More than 1,000 Sanders supporters ended up joining the workers, according to HuffPost. The publication notes that the collaboration between Bernie Sanders’ campaign and California strikers was weeks in the making, given that campaign officials have kept in touch with the workers, helping them organize.
I fully support these medical workers in Ohio, who are striking to make St. Vincent Medical Center put patients over profits. They are on the right side of history. https://t.co/fVIDNsiiKs
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 17, 2019
The Sanders campaign also recruited a dozen college student leaders, who contributed to the organizing as well.
It comes as no surprise that Sanders is supporting strikers and unions, given that the self-described democratic socialist is considered the most pro-labor candidate in the race. As The Nation noted, Sanders has made union solidarity one of the foundations of his 2020 presidential campaign.
The Vermont senator has also long advocated against unfettered free trade, leading the efforts against international agreements like NAFTA and the the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
— Laura Pugliese (@LauraPWRDW) May 18, 2019
Sanders appears to be making a conscious effort to distinguish himself from the Democratic front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, on the issue of trade.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Sanders discussed his pro-labor voting record in recent interviews, pointing out that Biden has, unlike him, supported free trade agreements throughout his career.