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Two prominent Northern California teacher unions endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States in the 2020 Primary Election


RICHMOND & OAKLAND – The Oakland Education Association and United Teachers of Richmond, two of the largest teachers’ union locals in Northern California are proud to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for US President in the 2020 Primary Election. The endorsements mean OEA and UTR are the second and third teachers’ unions in California to endorse a presidential candidate, joining the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Last night, the OEA Representative Council and UTR Executive Board – the elected leadership bodies representing 5,500 combined union members— voted in favor of endorsing Sen. Sanders.

Monday’s Council and Board votes followed a month long vote/survey of members. Both OEA and UTR engaged their membership to find out if they wanted to make an endorsement before the primary, and who they would choose as a candidate to support if that was the case. Both memberships, through voting and survey, agreed it was essential to take a position in times of uncertainty and with the absolute need for change in the White House. 

OEA President Keith Brown said: “Bernie wants to fight the billionaires and so do we. Oakland and Richmond educators' endorsement of Bernie Sanders is a strong message that we will no longer accept the status quo for our students. Billionaires and corporate interests have devastated our public schools through disinvestments in classrooms. Sanders is the presidential candidate that will stand up against billionaire privatizers. Oakland and Richmond educators want real change and Bernie Sanders is the candidate that will fight to bring true investments for better schools and communities”


There’s a reason why teachers are the number one profession among his donors: Sanders has the most comprehensive, progressive plan for public education among the candidates. His platform calls for a salary floor for public school teachers, tripling Title I federal education funding, boosting funding for special education (IDEA), and placing a moratorium on charter school growth. For the last several decades the unregulated growth of corporate charter schools has siphoned money from public schools, with little protection against fraud and little attention paid to equity or equality when it comes to educating students.

In addition to education issues, Sanders’ platform aligns with our values on a range of issues, including rebuilding the US labor movement and winning Medicare for All. Bernie is showing to be the labor and education candidate we need. Bernie has made it a priority to have a public education platform and has been a fierce advocate for students in public schools. Sen. Sanders signed a pledge to support Schools and Communities First in CA a few months ago. He was the first major US politician to publicly support the UTLA and Oakland 2019 strikes, and he pushed for donations to their strike funds.

Oakland and Richmond educators are standing behind a candidate who has the electability to beat Trump. Sanders is leading in Democratic fundraising, is strong in swing states and among independent voters, beats Trump in head-to-head polls, and has major support in demographics that will vote heavily in 2020, including Latinx voters, Black women, and millennials. 

Sanders’ platform is not just a corrective to the destructive presidency of Donald Trump but also to failed policies of the past few decades that have starved public schools and left behind working-class and middle-class families while giving massive tax breaks to corporations and billionaires. Long-standing Democratic Party leaders have been a part of these problems.

“We must stand up against Trump this November and take the strongest and most unapologetic stance that we can in order to protect our democracy, students, and public education system in the United States,” said UTR President Demetrio Gonzalez. “We believe we do so by endorsing Sen. Sanders. We see in Bernie the same fighting spirit that drove thousands of teachers, students and parents to the streets in the last two years around the Red for Ed movement demanding real change in their states”.



The Oakland Education Association and United Teachers of Richmond are affiliates of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3 million-member National Education Association.

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