2016 Presidential Race

Teachers Support Sanders But Their Unions Love Clinton

Hillary Clinton, Taxes

By Connor D. Wolf and Steve Birr

Teachers unions may have been some of the first to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but their actual members aren’t too keen on the former secretary of state, according to Thursday reports.

Federal Election Commission records reveal Sanders received more money in February from those who listed themselves as teachers, according to a Politico analysis. Sanders received $413,000 from over 9,000 teachers while Clinton got $394,000 from about 4,500 teachers. The labor movement in general has been criticized over rumors it is ignoring its members to back Clinton.

Clinton has won vast approval from national unions and her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders has done well with local chapters. Two of the nation’s largest education unions, National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers, decided to back Clinton.

“Clinton is a strong leader who will do what is best for America’s students,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said when the union endorsed Clinton Oct. 3. “Clinton will continue to advocate on behalf of students, educators and working families because she understands the road to a stronger U.S. economy starts in America’s public schools.”

Sanders is more aligned with the labor movement politically but struggles against Clinton, who’s deemed more electable by some union leaders. Sanders supports a national $15 minimum wage while Clinton said it should not exceed $12 an hour. Clinton does support states deciding for themselves whether to go above the national wage.

Clinton was much more hesitant to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership that unions have claimed would allow corporations to outsource more jobs. The trade deal covers 12 countries including some known for notorious labor violations. It was finalized Oct. 5 after a fierce debate which divided President Barack Obama and many Democrats.

National unions leaders have tried to refute the rumors their members overwhelmingly support Sanders. Two dozen national unions released a statement Feb. 22 claiming most of their members actually support Clinton. The union coalition Labor for Bernie expressed doubt on the truthfulness of the claims.

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