California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs spoke out against teachers unions at the Republican National Convention on Monday and said Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris opposed teachers’ efforts to break free of unionization in 2016.
Friedrichs claimed in her speech that teachers unions, which are among the most powerful unions in the country, don’t care about children, parents, scientific facts or American values. According to Friedrichs, when she and a group of California teachers sued a California teachers union, they were “brutalized” by Harris’ allies.
“I’m here to give voice to America’s great teachers because our voices have been silenced for decades by unions who claim to represent us,” Friedrichs said. “They do not.” (RELATED: LA Teachers Union Demands Defunding Of Police, Medicare-For-All)
Friedrichs was the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, according to The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The plaintiffs argued that Americans nationwide should have right-to-work protections, which protect union workers from being fired if they opt out of their union.
Issuing a 4-4 ruling, the Supreme Court deferred the decision back to the circuit court’s ruling in the case and prevented a precedent from being set, according to the Mackinac Center. Attorneys for Friedrichs asked the court to rehear the case, but were denied in June 2016, according to The American Legislative Exchange Council.
“Brave teachers brought a lawsuit against unions,” Friedrichs said in her Monday RNC speech. “Do you know who intervened against us? The Obama-Biden administration and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.”
“Today’s ruling protects the right of public employees working in our schools, universities, hospitals, and police agencies in California and across the nation to negotiate fair wages and benefits, without restricting any individual employee’s freedom of speech,” Harris said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision.
Harris continued: “While this decision is a victory, we must keep fighting to protect the ability of working families to make a living wage and pursue the American dream.”
Friedrichs also pointed towards the size and power of teachers unions, claiming the organizations care more about pushing an agenda than they do about teachers.
“Unions collect billions annually from unsuspecting teachers and push this radical agenda into our classrooms against our will,” Friedrichs said.
Friedrichs added that unions force children to attend “dangerous, corrupt and low-performing schools” rather than charter schools.
The National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are among the largest American unions with millions of members each, according to Department of Labor filings.
NEA and AFT have both endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Vice President Joe Biden.
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