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Sanders rally fills Washington Square Park

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NEW YORK — Bernie Sanders touted his support for striking telecom workers at a star-studded rally in New York City's Washington Square Park on Wednesday night, less than a week out from New York state's primary vote.

Nearly 40,000 Verizon employees, members of the Communications Workers of America union, walked off the job Wednesday as part of one of the biggest strikes in recent U.S. history. The CWA is among Sanders' largest backers among organized labor groups.

"Tonight, I want to take my hat off to the CWA," he told supporters in the park. "They are standing up to a greedy corporation that wants to cut their health care benefits, send decent paying jobs abroad and then provide $20 million a year to their CEO."

Earlier in the day, that CEO, Lowell McAdam, attacked Sanders in a long Linked-In post, calling the Vermont senator's "uninformed views" about his company "contemptible."

Sanders found a more welcoming audience below 8th Street in Manhattan, near New York University, where he was introduced by director Spike Lee and, before him, actress Rosario Dawson -- both New York natives.

The event also featured a performance by local bands Vampire Weekend and the Dirty Projectors.