U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday brought his White House campaign and the fight for working families to this city hard hit by the loss of decent-paying manufacturing jobs.
This year alone, General Electric has laid off almost 1,400 workers at a plant here. The jobs were shifted to Texas where anti-worker labor laws let the company slash wages in half. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor says the ripple effect of the GE layoffs will affect as many as 18,000 jobs in the region.
Before speaking to 2,197 supporters at the Bayfront Convention Center, Sanders met with members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Local 506, which represents workers at the GE plant.
Sanders has singled out GE as an example of “corporate greed” for taking advantage of job-killing trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over the last decade, GE has shut down 10 plants in the U.S., while it opened 58 factories in low-wage countries overseas. Sanders has led the fight in Congress against NAFTA and other trade deals which Hillary Clinton supported.
Sanders also has exposed GE as one of the major multi-national corporations which have exploited legal loopholes to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He has introduced legislation that would repeal tax laws that cost the U.S. treasury $100 billion a year in lost revenue. From 2008 through 2013. GE, Verizon and Boeing posted profits totaling more than $102 billion but received income tax rebates from the Internal Revenue Service totaling more than $4.1 billion, according to a report from Citizens for Tax Justice.
Bernie Sanders talks about GE in the Senate.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week showed Sanders trailing Clinton nationally by only two points – a virtual tie. When the same poll was conducted in June of last year, the Vermont senator was behind by 60 points.
Pennsylvania Democrats hold their presidential primary on Tuesday April 26, along with Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island.