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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Crowds marched through Pittsburgh to call for public school funding after Saturday’s events at the American Federation of Teachers Convention.
Thousands of union members and leaders have been attending the conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend, and they took to the streets around 4:30 p.m. to call for things like fair wages and better healthcare.
Marchers stopped in a few spots around the city to listen to speakers like State Representative Ed Gainey, AFT President Randi Weingarten and a rising senior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The union has 1.7 million members across the country but could soon be facing hard financial times after a recent Supreme Court decision saying unions can no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees.
“This is to show solidarity in support of the union movement,” Debbie Jackett, of Rochester, N.Y., said. “Our public unions are under attack right now, especially given the Janus decision by the Supreme Court about two weeks ago.”
“We are marching for equality, better pay, job security, healthcare for teachers K through 12, higher ed, AFT represents both sectors,” Andrew Mossin, of Philadelphia, said.
“What we’ve seen at our convention for the last two days is that people are sticking with the union,” Weingarten said.
Prior to the march, Senator Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, took the stage at the convention.
“America is failing our teachers, and when we fail our teachers, we fail our students and we fail our future,” Warren said. “This is a time of crisis, and a crisis for America’s teachers is a crisis for America.”
Warren said unions like the AFT are crucial in the fight for more public school funding.
Watch Warren’s full address —
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the conference Friday.
The AFT Convention wraps up at the Convention Center on Sunday with speaker Senator Bernie Sanders.
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