Bernie Sanders Rallies Striking Federal Workers in Nod to Pope

The 2016 candidate invokes Francis as one of the "great moral forces."

Sanders spoke highly of the pope after his speech.

“That’s why we are doing it today, because the pope is coming,” union organizer Jaime Molina said. “We want to call him and let him know that the workers need his support and ask him to pray for the poor.”

Several contract workers spoke -- in English and Spanish -- about the experience of serving senators while struggling to make ends meet.

"We wear one uniform inside and we leave wearing a different uniform, said Sontia Bailey, who works in Senate food services. "Working in the Capitol is not peaches and cream."

Bailey said she works 70 hours a week with two jobs, and said a recent miscarriage was attributed to her workload.

The day of activity follows a letter 40 Senate workers wrote to the pope earlier this month, requesting an audience with His Holiness.

"I think he's spiritually aware of us," said Charles Gladden, the formerly homeless Senate worker profiled in the Washington Post.