The NEA May Be About to Endorse Hillary Clinton Without Input From Majority of Members

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The largest labor union in the United States may be about to endorse Hillary Clinton for President without a poll of its membership.

Leadership at the National Education Association (NEA) has been making troubling moves toward endorsing Clinton that could commit the organization to supporting the Democratic presidential hopeful with no regard for the wishes of its 3.2 million members.

An endorsement could come as early as Oct. 2-3 when President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is expected to propose a primary endorsement of Clinton at the NEA Board meeting, according to multiple NEA sources. Then the PAC council would vote. If approved, it would go to the board for a final decision.

However, since this is only an endorsement for the primary election, the matter would not need to go before the Representative Assembly (RA). In effect, the move could sidestep the voices of the RA’s 8,000 delegates representing state and local affiliates, student members, retired members, and other segments of the united education profession.

The decision would be made by a handful of leaders and the PAC council. Though there are thousands of PAC council votes, they are distributed by the amount of money raised by each state’s members. This means that little states like Delaware – where members donate greatly – have a larger vote relative to their membership than other states.

The voices of the great majority of members would be silenced.

Already leadership at the highest levels seems to be trying to consolidate Clinton support.

Last Wednesday NEA Directors were invited to an hour-long conference call with Clinton. Few directors were allowed to ask questions and only if those questions had been submitted in advance.

After Clinton left the call, only three state presidents had a moment to speak; all gave positive reflections on Clinton and how she supports teachers and public education.

Despite the fact that several Democrats have been courting the NEA’s endorsement, only Clinton was invited to this call.

Last summer, the NEA invited all presidential candidates to participate in the union’s endorsement process. Only Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders did so. Each made a video statement that was shown at the summer’s RA meeting and posted by many to their local groups. Though more candidates have entered the race since then, none have chosen to interview with the NEA.

Ironically, at the same RA meeting, the assembly voted specifically NOT to ignore rank and file membership before endorsing a Presidential candidate. New Business Item 79 states:

NEA, as an organization, will actively engage in conversation and outreach on the NEA endorsement process with all 2016 Presidential campaigns prior to the consideration of a primary recommendation.

It seems if the leadership goes through with the primary endorsement as outlined above, they may be violating NBI 79.

The move is doubly troubling because of the strong-armed manner in which the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) endorsed Clinton in July.

Though the AFT Executive Board voted to endorse Clinton, there is little evidence it did so after adequately gauging members opinions through claimed multiple surveys and telephone town halls. The move caused an uproar and claims the AFT endorsed too early and without rank and file support.

Despite politics at the national level of the NEA, some state affiliates have already made endorsements. For instance, Vermont NEA already endorsed Sanders, their state’s Senator.

“We want to let the whole country in on what we in Vermont have long known,” Vermont NEA president Martha Allen said in a statement. “Bernie’s core values are in line with ours: He is pro-family, pro-worker, pro-education and pro-labor and we believe the time has come for his vision to become a national reality.”

Alternatively, the New Hampshire NEA endorsed Clinton in September. Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH president, called Clinton a “tireless fighter” for students and teachers.

However, Sanders is gaining on Clinton in the polls in the first two primary states. A new Monmouth University poll of likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire gives Sanders the lead over Clinton by a 43-36 margin. Sanders also leads Clinton in Iowa by a 41-40 margin. This is a huge gain from July when Clinton was beating Sanders by 49-25 in that state.

A major endorsement from a union the size of the NEA at this time might give Clinton the boost she needs to solidify her front runner status.

Whatever happens, no matter who the NEA decides to endorse, if anyone, it should be someone leadership can demonstratively prove has the support of the majority of its members.


NOTE: This article also was published on the LA Progressive and the Badass Teachers Association Blog

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32 thoughts on “The NEA May Be About to Endorse Hillary Clinton Without Input From Majority of Members

    • I am a teacher and I DO NOT support Hillary Clinton for President. I can not support her for several reasons, one being that she sat quietly on the board of Walmart as it’s employees FOUGHT for a livable minimum wage. Two that she, and her law firm, legally defended Monsanto, a corporation that poisons citizens and destroys the planet/environment. Three, her financial backers, I oppose big money in elections, and her choice of donors clearly shows where her priorities lie. I support Bernie Sanders. He stands for everything I value. He is authentic and he will be a far superior President of the United States.

      Liked by 2 people

    • My husband, a teacher, and I do not support Hillary. She has NEVER shown support for teachers nor does she show an understanding of what educators really do or child development. The NEA needs to show their support of educators by endorsing the candidate of THEIR choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The California branch of NEA, the CTA is poised to endorse Hillary as soon as next week. We have an email campaign going on to stop that endorsement.

    Here is the text I sent: Dont Endorse Clinton Yet!
    Among my colleagues and I, Hillary Clinton is seen as a strong supporter of what Diane Ravitch perceptively labeled “corporate education reform.” In 2012, I was disgusted by the CTA endorsement of Barack Obama and his test students, punish teachers and privatize public education policies. Please, Please, Please don’t do it again! Where I work, many teachers are wearing Bernie Sanders buttons. Don’t make us go against the union again.

    The vice president of my local affiliate Sweetwater Education Association (SEA) sent these email addresses for the CTA board members who will make the decision.
    eheins@cta.org,
    “Goldberg, David” ,
    Theresa Montano ,
    jbtt123@gmail.com,
    “Mr. Bonaccorsi” ,
    colleen4nea@gmail.com,
    l.crow@sbcglobal.net,
    t_freeman@cox.net
    “maruk@cox.net” ,
    Karen Schuett ,
    sososonia@aol.com,
    “thedor@pacific.net” ,
    clairemerced@gmail.com,
    kristapca@gmail.com,
    rvrodriguez81@yahoo.com,
    bomtabill@gmail.com,
    Barbara.schulman@gmail.com,
    Tracy Taylor ,
    “Ellis, Robert” ,
    Kenneth Tang ,
    Erika Jones

    Liked by 1 person

    • If the CTA comes out endorsing Clinton, I’ll resign my membership (of over a quarter of a century). That is simply unacceptable. We have a viable progressive candidate for a change. I refuse to belong to an organization that does’t support Bernie.

      Like

  2. If this happens, then that’s more evidence that the national teachers’ unions have been hijacked with BRIBES by the oligarchs funding the corporate war on public education. Once a union disconnects from it’s membership, it becomes corrupt and is no longer useful to the workers it represents.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Fortunately, when its members go into that voting booth, the union leadership is not there looking at for whom the vote is cast. They can lead a member to Hillary, but they can’t make it vote for her. Members need to use their own intelligence and select the best candidate for workers, not one that has taken money from big corporations like Wall Street brokers, big banks, private prison operators, and corporate law firms, to whom she’ll owe allegiances. Bernie Sanders hasn’t receive and doesn’t want campaign money from those “banksters” who don’t care one whit about you. His campaign is funded by unions and over 400,000 individuals who made small personal donations. The national nurses union and other big unions endorse Bernie. Learn more about Bernie Sanders at feelthebern.org .

    Liked by 2 people

      • And thus we have government populated by people who hate unions and screw their members every chance they get. Congratulations on cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        Like

  4. Call the NEA – 202-833-4000. Demand a discussion between Hillary, Bernie Sanders and teachers on substantive issues. Then a vote by our representatives. First I’d like to know who they’d choose to lead the department of ed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have heard back from several CTA Board members and the sentiment is against this endorsement. Only one of the 9 who responded seemed likely to support the endorsement, but 8 have not responded.

    Like

  6. It’s premature to select a candidate at this time. Let our grassroots people who work hard for their candidates vote in the primary first. We know and hope you will not endorse any republican as the they are for privatization of public education.

    Like

  7. Remember:Although union endorsements sound good when they’re announced, if the membership doesn’t support a candidate it doesn’t mean votes!

    Like

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