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Breaking With Stereotypes, Unions Hold Party for Republicans

Unions may be spending millions of dollars this year to elect a Democratic president, but the National Education Association and other labor organizations today feted Republicans who they say support working families. About 50 Republican members and supporters of the NEA attended an event at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis that was titled, “Labor Salutes Republican Supporters During the Republican National Convention.” “We work with a lot of Republicans in Congress, and we work with a lot of campaign committees. We wanted to make sure we had a presence at the convention,” said Randy Moody, the NEA’s chief lobbyist. According to Moody, at least 12 of the Republican delegates are members of the NEA, and about 1 million of the 3.2 million members are Republicans. Over the years, teachers unions, including the NEA, have been the targets of Republican and conservatives’ criticism for standing in the way of reforms to education policy. Labor organizations represented at the party included the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and the NEA Fund for Children & Public Education. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel was celebrating his first day in office. He emphasized the importance of creating partnerships such as the one created for the event. “It has to be done in partnership, working together. I think we all have common ground when it comes to educating today’s students and America’s teachers,” Van Roekel said.

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