A day following her victorious trail on Super Tuesday and as Donald Trump continued to get most of the headlines, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rallied union workers and supporters at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan to discuss the minimum wage and more jobs for the middle class.
The former New York senator returned to the city where she kicked off her presidential campaign, describing Tuesday’s results as “one for the history books.” Clinton won seven of the 11 states against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during Tuesday’s primaries.
“We couldn’t have done it without labor,” she said, referring to more than 5,000 people her campaign says attended the Wednesday event.
In a large room surrounded by American flags, the crowd chanted “Hill-ar-y” as Clinton praised the labor movement and pledged to fight for higher wages, immigration reform and universal pre-K.
Banners labeled “Carpenters & Hillary: Building a Strong America” and “Liuna! for Hillary: Feel the Power” were held high, as Clinton told the crowd that she is the only candidate who refuses to raise taxes on the middle class.
“As long as you are fighting for working class families in America, I will be in the trenches fighting alongside you,” she said. “I want you to know this, too: Labor will always have a seat at the table when I’m in the White House.”
Members of the Carpenters Union gathered outside the convention center as early as 2 p.m., almost four hours before Clinton spoke. Wood carpenter Steven Gary, who lives upstate, said he believes Clinton can bring more jobs.
“We are in full force because she’s going to support our needs. She’s fighting for our rights. She’s one of us,” Gary said. “She’s for the people, and we are for the people.”
Security officer Eunice Mercedes arrived with members of the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. She said her main concern is the nationwide Fight for $15, which calls for higher wages for fast-food and other service workers.
“Hillary needs our support, and this is the first step,” said Mercedes, who is from the Bronx. “I also believe because Hillary is from New York and she was our senator that she’s someone we know and trust.”
New York labor leaders and elected officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, introduced Clinton before she took the stage.
“Our America is willing to work with anyone willing to work with her,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s why we believe anyone who works full-time deserves a decent life and decent wage.”
New York will hold its primary on April 19.
“I really would love to have a female president in my lifetime, and she just seems like the most qualified candidate – Republican or Democrat, at this point. She’s been involved on a world-scale level,” said Paula Rossi of Manhattan, adding that she voted for Clinton in 2008.