Why did both unions representing teachers endorse Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton and Eli Broad on Jan. 20, 2009 at the inauguration ball of President Barack Obama.


This is a rhetorical question because I don’t have the answer but all teachers who are a part of either union, the AFT or the NEA, should question their leadership. And, if you don’t receive a satisfactory answer, then replace your union leaders, starting at the top.

To follow is an article that was recently brought to my attention and originally published in October of 2015 the the LA Report.

Broad’s support of Clinton raising concerns within teacher unions

With his massive plan to enroll half of all LA Unified’s students into charter schools, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad is threatening major disruptions at LA Unified, cementing his role as Public Enemy No. 1 to many district and local union leaders.

But Broad’s enduring support for public charter schools now appears to be contributing to problems for an old friend, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he has long supported financially.

Clinton appears poised to receive the endorsement of the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA), this weekend, but the potential endorsement is causing controversy among many rank-and-file members. Similar outrage emerged when Clinton received the endorsement of the second-largest national teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), in July.

The NEA’s rank-and-file outrage is dominating many national headlines, just as the AFT outrage did, stealing the focus from what should be a public relations victory for Clinton.

Part of the concern is due to her past support of charter schools and connections to Broad, as well as her connections to Bill Gates and the Walton family, who are also major financial backers of charter schools that directly threaten union teacher jobs. An alternate candidate in the field, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a declared socialist with a track record of full-throated support of unions, makes a better candidate, according to some NEA and AFT members.

“[Clinton’s] labor credentials are significantly worse than her main challenger in the Democratic primary, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders,” wrote Huffington Post blogger and former NEA member Ben Spielberg, who also pointed out that Clinton once served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart.

“Even if she says things that today sound supportive, she’s not going to be a steadfast friend of organized labor,” Jamie Rinaldi, a teacher from Newton, Mass. and a union activist told Politico. “We don’t know she’s going to be the ally that’s going to stand with our legislative agenda.”

Almost 5,000 AFT members signed an online petition asking AFT to withdraw the Clinton endorsement, which came in July. One comment on the petition, which summed up much of the Clinton opposition, said, “The support that Hillary receives from Wall Street, and gives them in return, and her misguided support of charter schools clearly shows whose interests she is working for.”

Several NEA state branches have already called on the organization to withhold any endorsement.

“We are concerned that an early recommendation does not allow members to be participants in a real debate around the issues that are still unfolding,” Nebraska State Education Association president Nancy Fulton said in a statement Wednesday. “A recommendation this early in the process is premature.”

With most charter schools being non-union, the math behind Broad’s charter expansion plan in LA is simple to the LA teachers union president, Alex Caputo-Pearl: lose half of the district’s students, and his union, UTLA, will also lose half of its teachers. Caputo-Pearl sees this as a threat to UTLA’s very existence, which makes it strange when his two national affiliates may both end up supporting Clinton, who once said, “I stand behind the charter school/public school movement, because parents do deserve greater choice within the public school system to meet the unique needs of their children.”

The Clinton Foundation has even gushed over Broad’s charter school philanthropy. From the foundation’s website, which is referring to a 2007 donation Broad made to LA charters totaling $27 million: “[Broad’s donations] will have a far-reaching impact on improving the education of students in Los Angeles. By broadening the investments in charter schools in Los Angeles, a tipping point will be created that will put pressure on all other public schools in Los Angeles to improve the educational opportunities for all children.”

The Broads and Bill and Hillary Clinton have connections that go as far back as 1983 and as recently as Sept. 19, when Bill Clinton attended the second opening night of the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Clinton at the gala talking about their friendship, which dated back to when Hillary was Broad’s lawyer. “I looked up one day and Eli was in my living room, and my life has never been the same,” Clinton said.

Broad, through one of his corporations, gave $100,000 to Bill Clinton’s presidential reelection campaign and was one of the controversial “Lincoln bedroom donors” who gave the then-president some bad headlines due to the perception that Clinton was using the White House to raise campaign funds.

Broad endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, has donated over $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and was recently a co-chair of the Super PAC “Ready for Hillary” that was formed to draft Clinton into the 2016 race. It has since dissolved.


Related posts:

An Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending

Did Bill Gates buy his podium at the American Federation of Teachers’ Convention in Seattle?


8 thoughts on “Why did both unions representing teachers endorse Hillary Clinton?

  1. Unions who have endorsed Bernie Sanders asked their membership who to endorse. The Teacher Unions didn’t ask. I was pleased to see that Edmonds Teachers were actively supporting Bernie on the local level. I have been just as disappointed by non-profit organizations whose leadership took it upon itself to endorse Clinton without asking its membership (example: Planned Parenthood). This should be no surprise. And that is why this election is sooo important.

  2. I am so disappointed that the 2 major teachers’ unions have endorsed Clinton. She is so corporate and not representative of teachers’ best interests at all. Saving public education and stopping the privatization of this public good will only come from Bernie.

    But this Hillary endorsement comes as no surprise with both NEA and AFT accepting donations from big corporations, the same ones causing the need to accept corporate money in the first place.

    Since Bernie won the caucuses’ in WA, if the NEA truly represented the will of its constituents, it really needed to endorse Bernie.

    I think all democratic leaders and endorsers of Hillary should know that if Hillary is on the ballot this fall, that Bernie supporters will be so incensed by the blocking of media coverage and other situations where Bernie has been shut out of the election process by Democrats themselves who appear so complicit with this, that we will write in Bernie’s name and give no support to the Republican posing as a Democrat.

  3. The LA School Report is run by Campbell Brown’s The 74, merged from Jamie Alter Lynton, THE mouth piece for Eli Broad and the privatizers here in Los Angeles. I know I’m out of the norm of progressive education activists in not feelin the Bern, but you’re throwing your lot in with Campbell Brown? Yikes.

    1. Yes, I found that out after this post when I discovered additional information about 74 which I posted. For some odd reason, they still have some decent articles, like on the Parent Trigger, while at the same time doing positive articles on charter schools.

      My guess is that they are going through a transition and we are seeing the vestiges of what once was a decent news site.


  4. Reblogged this on Network Schools – Wayne Gersen and commented:
    This is old news… but it bears repeating because I’ve never read a satisfactory answer… and instead of getting behind Bernie Sanders who is CLEARLY an advocate for public employee unions the NEA and AFT operatives are attempting to make Bernie Sanders appear to be on the fence about privatization. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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