The current Democratic senator is of Indian and Jamaican descent and may be the first woman and Afro-American person to hold this position. The unions point out that she has a long history of supporting public education, union rights, as well as LGBTQ and women's rights.
U.S. unions affiliated to Public Services International (PSI) celebrated the choice of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate. If they win the November 3 election, the Democratic senator, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, will be the first woman and Afro-American person to hold the position in U.S. history.
“This is an exciting and historic moment”, said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). “She will help Biden solve America’s immediate crises: a global pandemic, an economic crisis and a long-overdue reckoning on racial injustice”.
According to Weingarten, Harris has a long history of supporting public education. “She has consistently engaged with our union and our members, from her time in state politics in California to her recent campaign for president. She’s been committed to fully funding public education; she supports the right to organize; and she has a history of fighting for voting rights, LGBTQ equality and women’s rights. When our members went on strike in Los Angeles in 2019, she was one of the first national figures to publicly support our members”, said the AFT president, for whom this year’s election will be the most important of this generation because of the need to defeat President Donald Trump.
For the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a potential Biden-Harris administration “would fight for racial and economic justice, and a more inclusive future for America’s working families”.
According to SEIU, the Californian senator has been a solid ally in their struggles. “Kamala Harris knows that too many working people of all races were struggling to succeed even before the pandemic,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “As the first woman of color on a major party ticket, she feels this in her bones and throughout her career has always stood up to make America a place where everyone can succeed. She advocates for working people, like when she marched with Fight for $15 and a Union leaders to demand a $15 minimum wage and a union and fought back against the Trump administration when they tried to silence women of color and immigrant women who wanted to join together in a union”, she completed.
For his part, Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), considers Kamala Harris a “tireless fighter for working people who will be a powerful running mate” in a Biden administration.
“We know Senator Harris will continue her relentless advocacy to ensure that we win for working people in 2020, address deepening inequality and work to unrig the rules of our economy so that everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged, can thrive”, he concluded.