Pope's arrival sparks workers' rights picketing in D.C.

The role of Pope Francis in 2016 politics
The role of Pope Francis in 2016 politics

Workers' rights groups protested low wages in WashingtonTuesday, an event scheduled to coincide with Pope Francis' arrival in the city.

Pope Francis has been an outspoken critique of income inequality, and picketers implored U.S. lawmakers to "listen to [the pope's] message."

Strikers included federal contract workers that cook, clean and provide other services at governmental buildings in Washington. Good Jobs Nation, a group representing the workers, say contract workers are paid so poorly they are "unable to afford basic needs such as food, clothing, and rent."

They called for broadened collective bargaining rights and a $15 minimum wage.

Other workers' rights groups joined the protests, along with labor union reps and religious leaders.

A group of women from We Belong Together, who marched 100 miles over eight days leading up to the pope's visit, were among the picketers. Senator Bernie Sanders also lent his voice to movement Tuesday afternoon.

"In my view, when we talk about morality and when we talk about justice we have to understand that there is no justice when so few have so much, while so many have so little," Sanders said in a statement.

Social media posts show a group gathered to hear Sanders speak at a church. Other posts show strikers sitting outside the Capitol building, marching through downtown streets, and staging a sit-in at the Senate cafeteria.

Pope Francis arrived in D.C. just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Good Jobs Nation sent a letter to him last week requesting to meet with him, but there's been no word whether the pope has responded.

Francis is scheduled to attend a welcoming ceremony at the White House and meet with bishops tomorrow before holding mass. On Thursday, he'll give the first-ever papal address to Congress.

Related: Drones banned during Pope's U.S. visit

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