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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a stop in Pittsburgh Friday where she addressed the American Federation of Teachers Convention.
More than 3,000 union members and leaders have gathered at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend to outline their plans for the future.
Every two years, the AFT gets together for its convention. This time, the national event is in Pittsburgh and they’ve brought some political heavyweights to the region.
Clinton, also a former first lady and New York senator, was Friday’s keynote speaker. She received the Women’s Rights Award before addressing the crowd at 11:30 a.m.
Clinton spoke to the convention two years ago in Minneapolis as she was running for president, and says he understands the challenges facing the teacher’s union right now.
“You, through the AFT, have been on the front lines of some of the most urgent fights for our country’s future; and, as Randi [Weingarten, the president of the AFT] just reminded all of us, we have to gear up again, because the challenges we face now are truly unlike any we have seen for some time,” said Clinton.
WATCH: Clinton’s Full Address —
Weingarten took the stage herself, speaking out about a recent Supreme Court decision that could weaken unions.
“After that Janus case, which attempted to take our voice away, what you’re seeing is members are sticking with the union even more because they don’t want anybody else taking their voice away,” she said.
She put out an urgent call for the union delegates to get the vote out in the fall.
“Go to the polls in November to make sure we turn around cruelty and bring back decency, which is what America is about,” Weingarten said.
On other topics, Weingarten says you won’t see teachers bringing guns to school because insurance companies won’t allow it.
“Insurance companies that insure schools actually understand how stupid it is, how ludicrous it is, how it’s actually going to create more violence,” she said.
Watch Paul Martino’s report —
The union has 1.7 million members across the country, but soon could be facing hard financial times. That comes after a recent Supreme Court decision said unions can no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees.
That will certainly be a subject of discussion here in Pittsburgh all weekend long.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, is also set to speak at the convention on Saturday.
And, another former presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, will speak on Sunday. He will also be appearing at a rally on Sunday with lieutenant gubernatorial candidate, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, at Rangos Hall on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.