American Federation of Teachers
For Release:  Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Contact:  Andrew Crook

AFT Lays Out Path to 2020 Presidential Endorsement

Engagement and Energy Crucial to Evaluate Candidates who Walk the Walk for Members and the Community

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers has launched its largest and deepest political endorsement effort ahead of the pivotal 2020 presidential election.

The 1.7 million-member union, comprising 3,500 locals, went live today with a website,, and kicked off its inaugural “Walk a Day” campaign to invite candidates to spend a day in the shoes of an AFT member to better understand the challenges and issues our members face in the workplace.

The AFT Votes website includes extensive information on how members can actively participate throughout the endorsement process. It will help members learn more about the candidates and gauge where they stand on key issues, provide resources for members running for office, and more.

AFT members are K-12 teachers and paraprofessionals, healthcare workers, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees who, according to President Randi Weingarten, “reflect the heart and soul of this country.”

Earlier this year, the AFT executive council passed a unanimous motion to establish guiderails for our 2020 presidential endorsement process, with a specific focus on deep engagement and honest conversations before any decision can be made. Members are encouraged to consult directly and extensively with campaigns and only come together behind a candidate when the time is right.

Last night, 30,000 members and activists joined a national telephone town hall to discuss and debate the process.

“Our No. 1 goal is to elect a President who reflects our values and that means beating Donald Trump in 2020,” Weingarten said. “But to win our endorsement, candidates will have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. As we look ahead to Election Day, we are committed to engaging our members at every step of the way.”

The 2020 AFT endorsement process will include a formal candidate questionnaire, member surveys, focus groups, informational videos and unprecedented member involvement in campaigns, including town halls, social media forums and other opportunities to participate in the democratic process to decide who will receive the union’s grass-roots and financial support as November 2020 draws closer.

Weingarten added: “Over the next several months, we hope our members and their families and friends will use this process to make clear their aspirations for this country and for a standard bearer to help achieve them. We will work together to get to know the candidates and look for a leader who shares our values, has a likelihood of winning and is committed to helping all of us achieve a better life, a voice at work and power in our democracy.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 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.

AFT Resolution

2020 Presidential Endorsement Process

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that is committed to bettering the lives of the people we serve and the people we represent—through a voice at work and in our democracy, and by championing economic opportunity and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and our members have a long and proud history of engaging in the political process as a means to improve people’s lives; and

WHEREAS, the AFT, through our national, state and local affiliates, provide a vehicle for working people and our communities to build collective power and to accomplish what is impossible for individuals to achieve alone for a better life and a voice at work and in our democracy; and

WHEREAS, the AFT is committed to advancing the ideals of our democracy, including making it easier—not harder—to register and vote, and to ending the disenfranchisement of millions of voters through voter suppression and gerrymandering schemes; and

WHEREAS, while every election is important to advancing our goals, the 2020 presidential election may be the most important in generations; and  

WHEREAS, the 2020 presidential election process provides an opportunity to elect a new U.S. president who shares our values and aspirations for our country; and

WHEREAS, the 2020 presidential election primary process has already begun, with candidates announcing their campaigns and policies, debates and forums being scheduled, and the slating of delegates for presidential candidates effectively beginning in the summer of 2019 in several large states; and

WHEREAS, the AFT and our members provide an important voice in the political dialogue of our country, a voice that is needed to shape the debate in the presidential primary process regardless of whether the AFT has officially endorsed a candidate; and

WHEREAS, the AFT is committed to its members having a genuine and effective voice in this process and using the vehicle of our union as a means for that voice, a voice that states clearly: “We care, we fight, we show up and we vote!”:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will begin a process of engaging in the 2020 elections; and

RESOLVED, that the process will include:

    • Listening to and engaging our members on the issues and policies that matter to them, including but not limited to issues raised in the AFT’s 2018 convention resolution titled “AFT Goals for Political Endorsements.
    • Ensuring the endorsement process for the 2020 presidential election is transparent and involves meaningful member input and feedback, including informing and educating the members on each step of the endorsement process;
    • Ensuring direct engagement by the candidates with AFT members, as it is vital for the candidates to understand the issues facing our members and their communities. This will include more than candidate questionnaires; it can include, for example, candidates meeting directly with AFT members in candidate forums, Facebook Live conversations, discussions with members at the workplace or other appropriate activities; and
    • Utilizing new tools and technology to engage and educate the membership, a process which may include AFT national town halls using social media, online forums, digital platforms such as Hustle and Twitter, scientific polling or other appropriate tools, with the aim of achieving the greatest level of member participation the AFT has ever had in a presidential process; and

RESOLVED, that with a large field of candidates for U.S. president, many of whom have a record of supporting our issues and with whom the AFT and our affiliates have long-term and strong relationships warranting “favorite daughter/son” support or other preference, the AFT encourages affiliates and members to actively engage the candidate campaigns during the presidential primary process, even before the AFT formally considers the endorsement of candidates; and

RESOLVED, that because the 2020 presidential process will have many defining moments, well before most voters are ever really engaged, the AFT will take steps to educate and communicate with the members about the primary and caucus process, including running for national convention delegate or standing committee member (platform, credentials and rules), in support of a presidential candidate; and

RESOLVED, that in the endorsement process, the AFT executive council may consider, after meaningful input of our membership, which candidate is best for our members, our communities and our country; such an assessment will include consideration of the candidates’ positions on issues, the timing and state of the race, and the candidates’ pathway to victory; and

RESOLVED, that because we are indeed stronger together, if and when the AFT executive council and/or AFT convention delegates vote to endorse a candidate for president, the AFT and our affiliates will work together in every possible way to elect the AFT’s nationally endorsed candidate. 

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.

Biden for President   Facebook
May 28, 2019

Joe Biden Outlines Plan for Students, Educators, and Our Future

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Today, Vice President Joe Biden announced his plan to provide public educators the support and respect they need and deserve while investing in all children from birth, so that regardless of zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability all students are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. Biden outlined these principles today during a town hall in Houston, Texas held together with the American Federation of Teachers, and detailed how a Biden White House would turn these goals into a reality for America’s educators and students. 

“As my wife Jill says, an educator’s profession isn’t just what they do, it is who they are,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “They answer a call to service. They help our children learn and grow into successful adults. For so many young people, knowing they have a teacher believing in and fighting for them can make all the difference. It’s past time we treat and compensate our educators as the professionals they are, and that we make a commitment that no child’s future will be determined by zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.” 
For more on Vice President Biden’s plan, please see the fact sheet below.

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Warren for President   Facebook
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Highlights from Warren’s Trip to Pennsylvania

On day of AFT Town Hall, Warren Announced that the Secretary of Education would be a Public School Teacher in her Administration

Charlestown, MA - Elizabeth Warren traveled to Philadelphia yesterday where she held a grassroots donor event to thank supporters and participated in the AFT Votes Town Hall. Warren also announced that in her Administration, the Secretary of Education would be a former public school teacher who is committed to public education.

Rolling Stone: Elizabeth Warren Pledges to Hire a Public School Teacher as Her Education Secretary 
Warren has almost singlehandedly driven the debate around education in the 2020 presidential race.”

Randi Weingarten @rweingarten 
THIS is such great news.... Looking forward to the #AFTVotes townhall with @ewarren this afternoon at 4:30 pm

Huffpost: Elizabeth Warren Promises To Appoint A Public School Teacher As Education Secretary A New York City public school teacher named Liat Olenick approached Warren’s team in March about pledging to make a public school teacher education secretary. Olenick sought out members of Warren’s team at a rally in Long Island City, and kept in touch with them about her idea, she told HuffPost...Olenick said she believes the pledge represents proof of Warren’s commitment to public education.

Rebecca Klein @rklein90 
Randi Weingarten is giving a particularly enthusiastic intro to Elizabeth Warren right now, before Warren's town hall with teachers. "She understands the needs of unions and she understands the aspirations of public education."

Philly Inquirer: Elizabeth Warren makes first 2020 campaign stop in Philly, promises a pro-public school administration Warren, who worked as a special education teacher in New Jersey earlier in her career, has stumped on the need for more federal funding of public schools, universal child care and pay requirements for early-childhood education teachers. She has also unveiled a plan for student-debt forgiveness and making two and four-year public college tuition free. All topics she touched on Monday.

adam harris @AdamHSays Warren on her proposed $50 billion for HBCUs and MSIs: "We have a problem in education, and part of it has been that we have not given equal resources and opportunity to students of color, and here is one way to attack that head on."

CNN: Warren added that her pick would be someone "who understands how low pay, tattered textbooks, and crumbling classrooms hurt students and educators," and someone "who understands the crushing burden of student debt on students and young professionals and who is committed to actually doing something about it."

Lauren S. Camera @laurenonthehill Warren pitches wealth tax to pay for universal childcare, universal pre-K, raise wages of preschool teachers and child care workers, make every public tech school, 2-yr college, 4-yr college tuition and fee-free, put $50 billion into HBCUs, cancel student loan debt for 95%.

GQ: Elizabeth Warren Calls Betsy DeVos “The Worst Secretary of Education We’ve Seen” And vows to appoint an actual teacher if elected president.


Amy for America   Facebook
May 9, 2019

TOMORROW: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar To Visit Yonkers Public Schools, Participate in American Federation of Teachers Town Hall

YONKERS, NY — Tomorrow, Friday, May 10, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will join American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT) President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello and members of the YFT and New York’s statewide teacher’s federation in visits to two Yonkers public schools. Following the school visits, Klobuchar will participate in an AFT Votes town hall.  

Schedule for Friday, May 10:

WHO: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, AFT President Randi Weingarten, YFT President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello
WHAT: Sen. Klobuchar to visit Charles E. Gorton High School
WHEN: Friday, May 10 at 1:00 p.m. EST
WHERE: Charles E. Gorton High School — 100 Shonnard Place, Yonkers, NY 10703

WHO: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, AFT President Randi Weingarten, YFT President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello
WHAT: Sen. Klobuchar to visit School 9
WHEN: Friday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. EST
WHERE: School 9 — 53 Fairview Street Yonkers, NY 10703

WHO: U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar
WHAT: Klobuchar to participate in AFT Votes Town Hall
WHEN: Friday, May 10 at 3:30 p.m. EST
WHERE: Yonkers High School — 150 Rockland Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10705

Tim Ryan for America  Facebook
May 2, 2019

ADVISORY: TOMORROW – Democratic Presidential Candidate Rep. Tim Ryan to Address New York State United Teachers’ Representative Assembly

Congressman Ryan Will Address NYSUT and Participate in Town Hall Q & A

YOUNGSTOWN, OH – TOMORROW, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) will address more than 2,000 New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) delegates in Albany, New York for the union’s 47th annual Representative Assembly. During the assembly’s general session on Friday evening, Ryan and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten will address NYSUT delegates and discuss his commitment to supporting our nation’s teachers and to bolstering our national education system.
As a presidential candidate, Ryan has underscored the importance of tackling structural problems in our health care and education policies, and the need for critical reforms to help make sure educators and students have the tools and trauma-informed resources they need to learn and thrive.
Following his remarks, Congressman Ryan will join AFT President Weingarten in a town hall with select NYSUT members where he will answer questions as part of AFT’s 2020 endorsement process.  
WHAT: Congressman Ryan address New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) delegates for the union’s 47th Representative Assembly. Following his remarks, Ryan will participate in a town hall Q & A session with NYSUT members.
WHEN: Friday, May 3, 2019 between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: Albany Capital Center – 55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207

Bernie 2020  Facebook
April 11, 2019

Sarah Ford:
Bill Neidhardt:

Bernie Sanders to Tour Midwest Battleground States


Sanders to make stops in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania to highlight Democrats’ path to victory in 2020
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit battleground states in the Midwest on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

Sanders will hold rallies in Madison, Wisconsin, Warren, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He will also meet with community members in Gary, Indiana, and union workers in Coopersville, Michigan, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

In Lordstown, Ohio, Sanders will sit down with AFT President Randi Weingarten, experts and workers in the community to discuss everything from plant closures to schools.

Sanders will end the swing with a stop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to participate in a town hallhosted by FOX News. 

The tour will emphasize that Democrats’ clearest and strongest path to victory in 2020 runs through the upper Midwest -- and that Bernie Sanders is by far the best-positioned candidate to win these states and defeat Donald Trump. At rallies in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- three states that flipped and voted for Donald Trump in 2016 -- Sanders will deliver a message focused on fighting against unfair trade deals that undermine workers wages and enrich CEOs, rebuilding and strengthening unions and guaranteeing health care as a right to all with Medicare for All.

Sunday, April 14
1 p.m. Ohio Workers Town Hall Meeting with AFT President Randi Weingarten
High School, 1824 Salt Springs Road, Warren, OH 44481
Information for the public: This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Entrance is provided on a first come, first served basis.