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NEA president congratulates newly elected AFSCME President Lee A. Saunders

Gerald W. McEntee retires after 31 years-of-service to AFSCME

WASHINGTON - June 21, 2012 -

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel today expressed his deepest gratitude to retiring American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees President Gerald W. McEntee and congratulated incoming President Lee A. Saunders. More than 5,000 AFSCME delegates gathered in Los Angeles this week to elect new leaders and to chart the union’s course for the next two years.

“On behalf of the more than 3 million members of the National Education Association, I congratulate Lee A. Saunders on being elected the president of AFSCME,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “This is a defining moment in labor history as working families from coast-to-coast are under attack from politicians while wealthy CEOs and Wall Street get tax breaks and bailouts. I am confident that Saunders will continue to work tirelessly to make the voices of working people heard in the halls of Congress, the White House, and state capitols around the country. I look forward to working with Saunders to continue to advocate for stronger communities and a better future for America’s working families.

“Few stand taller than President McEntee in the labor movement. For more than 30 years, McEntee has been a fierce advocate for collective bargaining rights and for America’s working families. I thank him for his public service and for spearheading the fight for health care reform, retirement security, and workers’ rights.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT:  Miguel A. Gonzalez  202-822-7823,