CHICAGO – Delegates to the convention of the nation’s largest union, the National Education Association, will vote July 2-5 on whether to immediately endorse Democratic President Barack Obama for re-election. Its leaders recommend the 3-million-member group do so.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said the union is moving to back Obama early to send a clear political signal after the 2010 GOP sweep brought rabid foes of workers and unions to office. “This is the time to make decisions about the direction of our country, and we have real choices to make. As activists – engaged educators – we should get involved now,” he added. The decision will be made at the union convention in Chicago.

“Will we allow Congress to gut Medicare, slash education and cut Social Security, and continue to make it just fine for hedge fund managers and corporations to sidestep paying taxes?” Van Roekel asked. “Or will we act and assert the real American values of hard work and responsibility, a commitment to a vibrant middle class, to college affordability, and the opportunity to reach the American Dream?”

“It is time to stand strong for what we believe in and what is right for students and families, schools and the nation. President Barack Obama has proven he deserves a second term,” he declared. If the union endorses Obama, it will do so at a conclave meeting very few miles from the president’s house on Chicago’s south side.


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.