Trailing Bernie: Sanders nabs second big labor endorsement

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Bernie Sanders picked up a second major labor endorsement Thursday from the American postal Workers Union.

The 200,000-strong union, a member of the AFL-CIO, is backing the 74-year-old Sanders in his bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination over rivals Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. The union represents postal workers in all 50 states.

The campaign released a statement from union President Mark Dimondstein, who called Sanders “a leader in the fight to protect the public Postal Service” and “a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.” The union cited Sanders’ efforts to opposed the closing of post offices and mail sorting facilities around the country, as well as his opposition to ending Saturday delivery.

Sanders has also been a strong proponent of modernizing the U.S. Postal Service by adding banking services, copying and selling hunting and fishing licenses.

“Bernie Sanders is a fierce advocate of postal reform. He staunchly opposes postal privatization, and supports enhanced postal services, including postal banking,” Dimondstein said.

The union boss also cited Sanders’ efforts on behalf of American workers outside the Postal Service.

“No other candidate has his record of standing with workers on picket lines, fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, supporting free public college tuition, and advocating for veterans’ benefits,” he said. “And, no other candidate has his record of fighting to defend and expand Social Security, promoting ‘Medicare for all,’ and opposing ‘fast track trade authority’ and rotten trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

The Postal Workers’ support follows the August announcement from National Nurses United, another AFL-CIO member, that it was backing the democratic socialist for president. NNU has about 185,000 members.

Larry Cohen, a senior advisor to Sanders’ campaign and former president of the Communications Workers of American, said the campaign welcomed the support.

“APWU is everywhere there is a post office and their 250,000 members are way at the top when it comes to member involvement and union democracy,” he said.

Still, Sanders’ labor endorsements have been slow to materialize, despite his decades-long support for workers. Clinton, meanwhile, the Democratic frontrunner and presumed nominee, has the support of several unions that have millions of members.

The National Education Association, which has more than 3 million members and the American Federation of Teachers, with more than 1.5 million members, have backed Clinton. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, with more than 1.5 million members, is also supporting Clinton.

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Sanders has also picked up the endorsement from mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey. The Ultimate Fighting Championship champion told Maxim Magazine she supports Sanders’ candidacy.

“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders, because he doesn’t take any corporate money. I don’t think politicians should be allowed to take money for their campaigns from outside interests,” she told the magazine.

Rousey voted for Roseanne Barr, the comic and former star of the sit-com Roseanne, who unsuccessfully sought the Green Party nomination. Should Sanders’ bid fall short, Rousey said she would likely support a third-party candidate.

“If he doesn’t win against Hillary, then I’ll probably vote for a third party again. To be honest, in 2012 I was against both candidates and so I just picked any third party because I thought if more people voted for third parties then they’d have to take third parties seriously,” Rousey said.

Rousey, who is undefeated in her martial arts bouts, may find it harder to pick a winning candidate this year as Clinton continues to lead Sanders in polling.

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