The nation’s second-largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said it will encourage local and state chapters to back Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
The announcement is separate from the union’s presidential endorsement, which will be made at a later date, according to a report from Politico.
“The resolution signals to members and leaders that support for any of those three candidates is welcome at this stage of the process before the union makes a national endorsement,” the union said.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said each of the three candidates has “significant support” among the union’s 1.7 million members, citing their collective records on public education and labor rights.
“It was clear that the time to take this action was now, before all the delegates are chosen and before all of the primaries are over, so that AFT members and leaders can help shape the race and the narrative, ensure our voices are heard, and ensure one of these three candidates emerges as the nominee,” Weingarten said.
Individual AFT locals and state federations have already made endorsements in some cases, with Warren scoring the backing of both the Boston Teachers Union and the Massachusetts chapter of AFT, while the United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents about 35,00 members, has backed Sanders and the Scranton Federation of Teachers, based in Biden’s hometown, has endorsed the former vice president.
The announcement is also seen as a rejection of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a vocal charter school proponent who frequently clashed with New York public school teachers as mayor, comparing them to the National Rifle Association in recently resurfaced remarks.
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