The Democratic Party Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Saturday received a major endorsement by the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest education union in the states and the first union to officially endorse a 2016 Elections Presidential candidate.
The endorsement did not come as a big surprise, because the American Federation of Teacher backed Hillary Clinton in the primary battle against then-Senator Barack Obama, during the 2007 Elections campaign.
Being the first national union to endorse a 2016 Presidential hopeful, the American Federation of Teachers represent 1.6 million members, out of which some expressed public support for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another Democratic Party Presidential nominee.
However, according to Reuters, the American Federation of Teacher President Randi Weingarten, a close friend and ally of Hillary Clinton, stated that “Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members, and is prepared for a tough fight.” She also expressed her approval of Clinton’s past ventures as First Lady, U.S. Senator and as a Secretary of State, as well as her approval of Clinton’s vision that makes her the champion of working families and noted that she understands that in order to reclaim the public education, policymakers must work with educators and their union. Hillary has acknowledged that teachers must not be made the scapegoats for society’s problems, but rather be seen as the solution and with that the unions a part of that solution.
The American Federation of Teacher has sent invitations to all Presidential hopefuls, however only Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Marti O’Malley sought after the endorsement, completed the Union’s questionnaire and appeared at the Union’s executive council. No Republicans accepted the invitation. The members of the Union chose Hillary Clinton by a three to one margin. According to Reuters, Clinton issued an official statement thanking the AFT, saying that she was honored to get their endorsement and stated “We need to make sure every child has access to a quality public education and teachers with the tools to help them succeed. The men and women of AFT work throughout our communities in out preschools, K-12 schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, and public agencies. Their voices and the voices of all workers are essential to this country.”
Hillary Clinton is set to meet with other labor Unions this month, including the crucial meetings about the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership that has been opposed by Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. Clinton is yet to announce her stance on the Pacific Rim agreement, a trade deal that the Obama Administration has received a lot of criticism for by labor Unions.
Another crucial meeting for Clinton is with the executive council of AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for 56 unions. In the 2008 Elections, the AFL-CIO was split between Obama and Clinton, but went on with Obama, because it was clear he would get the Democratic nomination. The AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has coordinated local and state federations to remain on neutral stance until later in the campaign period and urged Clinton to endorse the labor’s economic agenda.