NEA President Dennis Van Roekel addresses national AFL-CIO convention
Power comes from unity. That was the message delivered by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel when became the first NEA President to address the national AFL-CIO convention on September 16.
Van Roekel received a standing ovation from the 1,000 delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh, after an introduction in which American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten praised his commitment to working “shoulder to shoulder” with the labor movement on “every major issue facing public education and working families.”
Van Roekel told the convention delegates that now is the time to put aside differences in the labor movement and work toward rebuilding the middle class and making the American dream accessible to all, not just the wealthy. “You can not have a middle class without labor unions in America,” Van Roekel said.
View Van Roekel's remarks:
Much of Van Roekel’s address focused on change - change within the NEA, the larger labor movement, and the American public. He pointed out that the election of President Barack Obama has put a friend of labor in the White House, and it is imperative that unions speak in a unified voice to bring the types of positive change that are now possible.