Support for Mondale Said Set In National Teachers' Groups
The National Education Association and the afl-cio, the parent body of the American Federation of Teachers, were scheduled last week to make preliminary pledges in support of the Presidential campaign of Walter F. Mondale, the former Democratic Vice President.
For the Mondale campaign, the pledges will mean the addition of the unions' sophisticated, grassroots political organizations, which include extensive telephone banks, computerized mailing lists, and legions of trained volunteers to help get out the vote. Together, the unions represent about 2.2-million school employees.
There had been some speculation during the past several months that the nea might throw its support to Senator John H. Glenn, Democrat of Ohio. But last week the organization's leadership decided to support Mr. Mondale because of his long-standing support of public-school teachers. Mary H. Futrell, the nea's president and the person who initiates the process of building the organization's political positions, and the union's political decision-making group--made up of the presidents of its state affiliates--met last Thursday to vote on the endorsement of former Vice President. The nea board of directors was expected to vote its support for Mr. Mondale last Friday.
Endorsement Next Summer
Once the directors' position is adopted by an nea state organization, the national organization is permitted to expend resources in the state to elect delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions in the name of the candidates that the union supports. The union's formal endorsement of a Presidential candidate will be made next summer.
The nea voted not to support a Republican candidate in 1980, and did so again for 1984.
In 1976, 311 nea members were elected as delegates to the 1980 Democratic convention. They represented about 10 percent of the total number of delegates. That year, only one state affiliate did not endorse President Carter, the candidate recommended by the union's national leadership. The union's Massachusetts affiliate voted instead to work for the nomination of their own state's Senator, Edward M. Kennedy.
While it is too early to know how the union's state affiliates will respond to their leadership's recommendation of Mr. Mondale, Phoebe Tupper, president of the Iowa affiliate, recently gave her personal endorsement to Senator Alan Cranston of California. The Iowa State Education Association will vote on Nov. 19 whether to concur with the nea's recommendation.
The nea expects to make between $3 million and $4 million in political contributions to Congressional and state campaigns during the 1984 elections, according to Kenneth F. Melley, director of political affairs. In addition, the union is contributing to various Democratic-sponsored voter-registration drives, including to one being run by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, he said.
The executive board of the afl-cio was expected to endorse Mr. Mondale for President on the first day of a five-day convention in Hollywood, Fla., that began last Saturday. The union's full delegate assembly will vote on the executive board's recommendation this week.
The aft is represented on both the executive board and in the delegate assembly of the afl-cio
Greg Humphrey, director of legislative affairs for the aft, said Albert Shanker, the aft's president, has polled the union's leadership and it "has overwhelmingly agreed to cast [the aft's] vote for Mondale.'' However, Mr. Humphrey added, a formal endorsement of Mr. Mondale will not come until later this month.
Vol. 03, Issue 05