WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — At a rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) demanded Congress take immediate steps to protect workers from companies retaliating against them for joining unions.
Surrounded by employees who have claimed workplace discrimination, Sanders urged lawmakers to punish companies he believes unfairly target workers that even consider organizing.
“Our job is to make it easier for employees to join unions, not harder. That is what this legislation is about,” Sanders shouted to a crowd of supporters and national media.
In the background, dozens of men and women wore shirts with the phrase “Good Jobs Nation” and held signs pushing for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“Management retaliated by firing me and one of my co-workers in the ICU,” claimed Allysha Almada, a registered nurse from Pasadena, Calif.
Almada urged Sanders and other members of Congress to protect workers like herself who feel threatened and intimidated because of anti-union hostility.
After the event Sanders, who will face off against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a debate next week, spoke with reporters about the campaign trail, workers’ rights and if his own legislation is geared towards the campaign.
“It’s not a question of winning. This is legislation that I have supported since the first year I was in the Congress,” Sanders said.
The first Democratic presidential debate will be held Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas.