Breaking News
More () »

13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Bernie Sanders blasts Carrier move to Mexico at Indianapolis rally

A large rally where Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is set to speak is underway at the Indiana Statehouse.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed a large crowd at the Indiana Statehouse on Friday, quickly launching into an attack on a manufacturer's decision to relocate 1,400 jobs to Mexico.

"I intend to do everything I can to prevent United Technologies from shutting down their plants in Indianapolis and Huntington from throwing 2,100 American workers out on the street and moving to Monterey, Mexico where they're gonna pay people there three dollars an hour," Sanders told a cheering crowd.

"This is not acceptable. This is the kind of corporate behavior that is destroying the middle class of this country," he said. "This is the kind of corporate behavior that together we will end."

On the decision to move Indiana jobs to Mexico, Sanders said, "They have no shame. They have no sense of embarrassment."

"Today we are sending a very loud and clear message to the CEO of United Technologies:stop the greed. Stop destroying the middle class in America. Respect your workers. Respect the American people," Sanders said to more cheers.

He talked about the effect of NAFTA on Indiana jobs, saying the state has lost over 110,000 manufacturing jobs due to the trade agreement enacted in the 1990s.

"We need a new set of trade policies designed to protect working families and the middle class, not just the CEOs of large corporations," Sanders said.

"It is not acceptable to me that today the top one tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent," he said, linking the loss of manufacturing jobs to rising poverty rates.

"We are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just CEOs of large corporations," Sanders said. 

In addition to reforming what he called the disastrous policy of NAFTA and other agreements, he said, "If you work 40 or 50 hours a week in America, you should not be living in poverty. We're gonna raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Fifteen bucks an hour."

He also addressed the gender pay gap, as well as rebuilding the American infrastructure, vowing to use American, not Chinese, steel.

"The American middle class will grow and not decline when the trade union movement in this country grows. That is why we must expand collective bargaining rights for public sector and private sector workers. We need to make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder," said Sanders.

The USW, which endorsed Sanders, also invited Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, who declined because of a scheduling conflict.

While no GOP candidates were invited, USW local 1999 president Chuck Jones said GOP front runner Donald Trump asked to come but was told no.

Jones said while Trump has spoken out on behalf of Carrier, he's also said American workers make too much money and he backs right to work laws.

Sanders spoke to supporters at Purdue University and Indiana University on Wednesday. He's vowed to stay in the race until the summer convention, although his campaign laid off over 200 staffers this week.

Meantime, Bernie Sanders' wife and adviser Jane Sanders says his campaign will do well in the remaining contests because they are open primaries, which she describes as "more democratic."

In an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Jane Sanders noted that Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island on Tuesday, which was an open primary, allowing independents as well as Democrats to vote for her husband.

"If you close the primary and you only have people who have been in the Democratic Party for years, what you are doing is effectively shutting the door on the millions of people that Bernie has brought in to the political process during this election," she said.

She also said that his campaign intends to continue through the final contest in California, despite a revelation Wednesday that the campaign plans to lay off hundreds of field staffers and other aides.

Sanders will hold a rally in South Bend on Sunday, then head to Fort Wayne on Monday, the day before Indiana's primary.