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Bernie Sanders to join striking workers for pope visit

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to address striking Washington contract workers Tuesday as Pope Francis arrives in D.C. for his historic visit.

The workers, who work at the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings, are striking to encourage Congress and President Barack Obama to adopt a $15 minimum wage, and are seizing upon the pope’s visit to draw attention to their cause.

The strike, which was organized by a group called Good Jobs Nation and is set to begin at 9:30 a.m., comes ahead of the pope’s meetings with Obama and Congress. The workers plan to march in a procession to the Capitol and perform a “prayer action” at the Capitol Dome to urge lawmakers to address their demands.

“With hands outstretched, the workers and clergy will pray that the hearts of America’s elected leaders are touched by the words of Francis and that they will use their powers to lift contract workers out of poverty,” Good Jobs Nation said in a press release.

National Council of Churches General Secretary Jim Winkler, Riverside Church of New York City Rev. Michael Livingston, Ecumenical Poverty Initiative Executive Director Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, and Interfaith Worker Justice Executive Director Rudy Lopez will also appear at the strike.