Press Release

AFT Members Pivotal to Big Hillary Clinton Wins

For Release: 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Contact:

Andrew Crook
202-393-8637
acrook@aft.org

WASHINGTON—Union members and supporters from across the country came together Tuesday night to send the resounding message that only Hillary Clinton has what it takes to deliver real change for working people and break down the barriers holding our nation back.

American Federation of Teachers members and affiliates in the industrial battlegrounds of Ohio and Illinois and the delegate-rich state of Florida turned out en masse for Clinton, organizing rallies, phone banks and door-knocking drives to set her firmly on the path to the Democratic nomination. As we await final results in Missouri, two million more primary voters have now turned out for Clinton than Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The overwhelming response added to Clinton's strong support among union families this primary season in Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Massachusetts, Nevada and Iowa. Twenty-five of America's biggest unions representing millions of working people have now formally endorsed her historic bid for the presidency.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said: "Once more this primary season, AFT educators and support staff, nurses and public employees, from Lake Erie to the Florida Keys, hit the phones and knocked on doors to talk to their colleagues and drive home the message that only Hillary Clinton can deliver real gains for working people. Our members have turned out again and again for Hillary because she's stood and fought alongside our kids, families, patients and communities for decades. And now, she is trying to earn every single vote.

"At this critical moment, Hillary knows how important it is to end the stoking of fear, divisiveness and hate and use this election process to move America from anger to aspiration, and from aspiration to action. There's a lot of frustration in the community right now. But working families will make real change at the ballot box and the bargaining table, not through hate and empty rhetoric. The difference is clear—Hillary's a proven progressive who gets things done. We'll always be her champion because she is our champion."

Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall said: "We know Hillary Clinton will do whatever it takes to improve struggling schools by taking her fierce advocacy for public education all the way to the White House. In Florida, tens of thousands of FEA members turned out to vote for Hillary tonight because we know she's our champion and will work to end the conservative attacks on our kids that we see playing out every day in the classroom. We have her back because she has ours."

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said: "The wave of enthusiasm to get the vote out for Hillary across Ohio—at rallies, phone banks and door-knocking drives across the state—was amazing but not the least bit surprising. Ohio educators know Hillary Clinton will put a stop to the ruinous experiments pushed by so-called education reformers across America. We turned out for Hillary—not only because we're sick and tired of the hate and vitriol spewed by conservatives, but because we know she'll fight shoulder to shoulder with us and millions of working people to reclaim the promise of America."

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Daniel Montgomery said: "At rallies and phone banks across the state, we've been proud to support Secretary Clinton because she stands strongly with educators, workers, and the communities we serve. She also joins Illinois voters in rejecting Gov. Rauner's harmful agenda that benefits the wealthiest while ordinary families continue to suffer."

Hillary Clinton will support union families through her detailed plans to create good jobs, raise the minimum wage and strengthen overtime rules, expand paid leave and achieve equal pay, and support collective bargaining. She will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, expand access to educational opportunity, advance racial justice, rein in Wall Street, improve and expand access to healthcare, and invest in jobs in the energy sector.

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.