AFT Resolution

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS’ ENDORSEMENT OF JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT

WHEREAS, America faces three immense crises—a health pandemic, an economic recession deepening the gap between the rich and the rest of the American people, and systemic racism—all made worse by President Trump’s actions; and

WHEREAS, these crises have exacerbated the economic, social, racial and gender inequities that have long existed, with 40 percent of Americans unable to cover a $400 emergency before this crisis; Black Americans, other communities of color, LGBTQ, and other vulnerable populations fighting for justice under the law; families being crushed under $1 trillion in student loan debt; Americans’ freedom to form unions greatly undermined by corporate interests; countless people being one illness away from bankruptcy; and our schools and public services woefully underfunded; and

WHEREAS, these crises have laid bare the need for a compassionate, competent federal government with the experience and willingness to act swiftly to keep Americans safe, make sure workers and communities have the support they need, and keep our economy going; and

WHEREAS, Donald Trump has spent his presidency focused on himself and his cronies, trafficking in hate and division, undermining our democracy and thwarting the rule of law, even going so far as to declare “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” and using tear gas on citizens who were exercising their right to peacefully protest racial injustice and the mindless killing of George Floyd, all to create a photo opportunity for his re-election campaign; and

WHEREAS, Donald Trump has repeatedly rewarded the rich and well-off at the expense of the rest of America’s families and our democracy throughout his presidency—through a $1.5 trillion tax cut in which 83 percent of the benefits went to the top 1 percent, an all-out assault on healthcare, gutting environmental and worker safety standards to benefit big industry, attacking unions, championing Betsy DeVos’ agenda to defund and destroy public education in favor of private schools, siding with for-profits and profiteers over students in debt, and undermining free and fair elections; and

WHEREAS, a better future is possible, but only if we first defeat President Trump and elect a president who not only will restore decency and humanity to the office but who also will reimagine government and rewrite the rules of our economy and society to enable opportunity and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, this election is about what kind of country we want to be—not simply to restore the basic norms of decency and democracy, but to ensure everyone in America has the freedom and opportunity to live without fear and to pursue a better life; and

WHEREAS, Joe Biden is the experienced and empathic leader our country needs right now. His character was forged getting up and going to work every day and trying to make life better for his family, facing the ups and downs so many families face; it was tested by unspeakable loss and grief in life; and it was nurtured through public service, a love of people and the belief in the dignity of every human; and

WHEREAS, Joe Biden has spent his career championing the values of strong public schools and higher education; understanding that healthcare and college are rights, not privileges; and that a strong labor and civil rights movement are essential if we are to have true justice, opportunity and the freedom to live; and

WHEREAS, Joe Biden understands fundamental systemic change must occur for “equal justice under law” to become a reality to overcome the racial injustice in our country; and

WHEREAS, Joe Biden understands that this is the time to reimagine what government can do and has collaborated with Sen. Bernie Sanders and established the Unity Task Force, worked with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams and others to create unity and develop an agenda to help reimagine and rebuild a government and society that work for everyone, an agenda that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Investing in public education; supporting educators and paying them adequately; expanding community schools to meet both the social and health needs as well as instructional needs of children; and prioritizing deep learning focused on the skills and knowledge kids need to succeed, not an overreliance on testing;
  • Building on the Affordable Care Act to ensure every American has access to affordable healthcare and cutting healthcare costs;
  • Investing in higher education, providing student loan relief, and making four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000;
  • Cementing the right of all workers to unionize and collectively bargain;
  • Restoring the Voting Rights Act and protecting the voting rights of every American;
  • Strengthening America’s commitment to racial justice and rooting out systemic racism from our laws, our policies and our institutions;
  • Rebuilding our economy to enable opportunity and prosperity for all, not just the rich and big corporations; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers, our affiliates and our 1.7 million members have a long, proud and distinguished history of being leaders and active participants in strengthening the democratic process and promoting civic engagement; and:

WHEREAS, the AFT conducted our most inclusive and extensive presidential endorsement process in our history over many months that involved over 300,000 of our members, and the AFT executive council endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination for president; and

WHEREAS, Joe Biden shares our values, has the support of our membership and is the leader we need in this historic moment in time:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers enthusiastically endorses Joe Biden for president of the United States for the November 2020 general election; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, our state and local affiliates, will recruit and engage members to help ensure they and their families are registered to vote, are informed of the positions and record of Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, and get out to vote; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, our state and local affiliates, and our members will commit to supporting Joe Biden’s presidential election campaign, and will provide the necessary resources to help elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.

(2020)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.