labor ‘A Great Choice’ After ‘Festival of Fear’ AFT, UFT Leaders Among Prime Clinton Backers At Convention
They’re with her, too.
The nation’s top education-union leader, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and her New York City counterpart, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, made strong cases for Hillary Clinton’s election during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, saying she was “rock-solid” on labor issues while Donald Trump was a fearmonger and scam artist.
In remarks to the delegates gathered in the Wells Fargo Center on opening night July 25, Ms. Weingarten called the ex-U.S. Senator and Secretary of State “the most qualified candidate for President in my lifetime.
“Hillary’s worked her entire life to level the playing field for working families,” Ms. Weingarten told the cheering crowd. “That starts with public education, from pre-K through college. She has a plan for universal early-childhood education. She’ll reset education policy to focus on skills like creativity and critical thinking, not more testing. And she’ll make public universities free for working families—a stark contrast with Trump’s for-profit scam.”
Ms. Weingarten labeled the Republican National Convention, held a week before in Cleveland, “a festival of fear. Every day was full of hate and bigotry. Why? To hide that Trump’s plans—like many of his businesses—are completely bankrupt.
“Donald made millions while he ripped off workers and small businesses with his unfair business practices—remember, he ended up bankrupting his companies not once, not twice, but four times,” she said. “And his economic ideas will make millionaires like him richer at the expense of the middle class.
‘Look At Trump U.’
“Just look at Trump University to see how he operates,” Ms. Weingarten continued. “Salespeople were told to exploit people’s fears, like pushing a single parent…that may need money for food, into useless, high-cost seminars. Instead of an education, students lost thousands of dollars and got nothing in return.
“That’s Trump in a nutshell: manipulating people’s fears to enrich himself,” the AFT leader said, her voice rising. “He is completely unqualified for the Oval Office.
“Thankfully, we have a different choice, and it’s a great one: Hillary Clinton,” Ms. Weingarten concluded. “She’ll wake up every day thinking of ways to help all of us. The choice could not be clearer—we must elect Hillary Clinton!”
In a July 27 phone interview with THE CHIEF-LEADER, Mr. Mulgrew, who attended the convention as a New York delegate, was just as effusive in his praise for Ms. Clinton—and just as harsh in his criticism of Mr. Trump.
“This is my third convention in three weeks, and Hillary has been at all of them,” Mr. Mulgrew said, referring to two union conventions plus the DNC. “Her support for labor has been rock solid.”
‘Key to Middle Class’
“What we’ve been hearing over and over again from different elected officials both in the [Philadelphia] convention hall and in all of the other work we’ve been doing here is the understanding that unions need to once again be growing and be strengthened through government support,” the UFT president said. “That is part of the [Democrats’] plan to rebuild the middle class in the United States.
“Those of us from New York know about Mr. Trump’s propensity to try to get away with whatever he can, and for his lack of respect for labor,” Mr. Mulgrew said. “He’s basically a man who has over and over again used his wealth to basically gyp people out of the wages that he owes them.”
Asked if, upon returning to New York, he planned to urge the more than 200,000 members—including some 75,000 Teachers and 19,000 classroom paraprofessionals—of the UFT to support and vote for the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine ticket, Mr. Mulgrew answered with an emphatic “Yes!”