File photo of Vermont Senator and U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders taking a selfie with a supporter during a "Brunch With Bernie" rally at National Nurses United in Oakland

Inside Bernie Sanders' strategy to win over organized labor

Union activist Cliff Smith once thought of Bernie Sanders as an “obscure” U.S. senator. That changed in August when Smith joined 27,000 people to hear the Democratic White House candidate speak at a Los Angeles sports arena. “The other candidates – they talk in these very calculated, milquetoast, vague ways – they just don’t come across as human,” said Smith, the business manager for Local 36, a branch of a roofers’ union. “He just seems like your next-door neighbor.” Sanders’ vow to protect American jobs and rein in big corporations has resonated with union workers such as Smith. Sanders, who is challenging Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has put the courtship of organized labor at the heart of his fight.

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