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Season 4, Episode 46

Weingarten: Community and solidarity key to navigating challenges



Guest Name:

Randi Weingarten

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Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast and spoke about her life, and how she learned the value of community and solidarity.

Weingarten, who former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once deemed, “the most dangerous person in the world,” learned about the labor movement as a child. Her mother was a teacher, and her father was a non-union electrician. She learned the value of solidarity, sacrifice and what it means to stand up for what you believe in when her mother’s Local teacher’s union went on strike and her father lost his job. 

Later in her life, she worked as a litigation attorney with a large firm in Manhattan, where she was surrounded by men and had to learn to navigate the hostile office environment. Unable to find a small office to be a labor lawyer who handled union work, Weingarten took the advice of a colleague and gained experience as a litigation attorney. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she spoke of the daily struggles she faced. Eventually, she found a group and built a community of people to help support her. Together in solidarity, they provided each other with daily support to navigate their unfriendly work environment. 

Eventually, Weingarten moved to education, first as general counsel for the United Federation of Teachers, and then as a teacher. After she earned her teaching degree, Weingarten taught for six years and experienced firsthand struggles with parents and politics that many teachers have faced in their careers. She feels that in today’s society, teachers need as much support as possible to navigate teaching, especially with an active attempt to undermine public schools. Weingarten added that the best way to serve the students is for parents and communities to rally around and support the teachers and pay them a livable wage so they can focus on supporting their students. 

Listen to the entire episode to learn more.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Communication Workers of America, Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Kelley & Ferraro, LLP, & Labor Citizen magazine, Laborers International Union of North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Maritime Trades Department, Ohio Federation of Teachers-American Federation of Teachers, United Auto Workers, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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