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Weingarten Wins Re-election to AFT Presidency by Wide Margin

Los Angeles

As expected, Randi Weingarten has won re-election to the presidency of the American Federation of Teachers, winning 97.6 percent of the approximately 2,800 delegates at the union's convention here. 

There has been a lot of talk about pushback to Weingarten, who first became president in 2008, from opposition factions within the AFT, notably in the Chicago affiliate. But if I recall correctly, this percentage is actually a bit higher than it was just a few years back.

All of the 40-plus other elected vice presidents in the union also belong to Weingarten's internal political party. AFT candidates run in party slates, and most delegates vote for an entire slate rather than one-off candidates.

The one change in AFT's leadership worth noting is the executive vice president position. Francine Lawrence, of the Toledo, Ohio affiliate, retired, and Mary Cathryn Ricker, the president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers since 2005, now will hold that spot. She only became an AFT vice president in 2012,  so this is something of a meteoric rise within the ranks.

Ricker is known for helping to implement several new programs for novice teachers in her district, and for more recently scheduling a strike vote in St. Paul during a tough round of contract negotiations. (The discussions there were ultimately resolved.)

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