Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Clinton endorsement divides teachers union - POLITICO

Clinton endorsement divides teachers union - POLITICO:

Clinton endorsement divides teachers union

State officials and rank-and-file members plan to protest upcoming vote to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Top brass of the 3 million-strong National Education Association, the country's largest union, are recommending an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, according to an email obtained by POLITICO -- a move that has many state leaders and rank-and-file members planning to protest the early endorsement.

The email, sent from the union's campaign office, states that the NEA PAC, the union’s political arm, is planning to hold an upcoming vote “recommending Hillary Clinton for the presidential primary.”

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“After months of interactions with the three candidates who chose to participate in our process [Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders], certain things became clear,” the email states. “Clinton is the best positioned candidate to win both the Democratic primary and general election. She has unmatched organizational strength, ground game, and fundraising ability to defeat the candidate of the Koch brothers.”

The email noted that while Clinton is the candidate the union believes is most likely to win, both Clinton and Sanders received “A” rankings on NEA’s congressional legislative scorecard, and O’Malley was voted NEA’s Governor of the Year. The email says the union hired a Republican consultant to reached out to Republican candidates, but none chose to participate in the endorsement process.

The email also defends the timing of the early recommendation process as a chance for the union to try and identify a winner early so as to “play a significant role in the next administration’s conversation and decision-making about public education.” (In 2008, the union did not endorse Barack Obama until after he had wrapped up the nomination.)

But the reaction is following a pattern that has played out in many major unions that have gone through the endorsement process this year -- anger and opposition from rank-and-file members who support Sanders and want their unions to hold off on any endorsement in the primary. Many teachers protested vigorously after the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Clinton in July.

Some NEA members supporting Sanders said they simply do not trust Clinton to fight for their interests -- and plan to fight back against any union endorsement. “Even if she says things that today sound supportive, she’s not going to be a steadfast friend of organized labor,” said Jamie Rinaldi, a teacher from Newton, Mass., and a union activist. “We don’t know she’s going to be the ally that’s going to stand with our legislative agenda.”

Other state leaders have expressed concern that an early endorsement does not allow members to be participants in a real debate around the issues that is still

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/hillary-clinton-teachers-union-214190#ixzz3n8cXTXNu