American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten delivered a lively speech on Thursday honoring the fighting spirit of the Machinists on behalf of workers’ rights and the labor movement. Weingarten also emphasized the importance of education for the advancement of the middle class and how the upcoming elections are critical for working families.

“It’s in our DNA to fight for a better life, not just for ourselves,” said Weingarten. “[It’s] for the next generation to have a voice at work, to get pay that families can actually live on, high-quality affordable health care so we are not one disease away from bankruptcy, and for retirement benefits so people don’t have to grow in poverty.”

The AFT and IAM continue to be close allies when partnering to advocate for workforce development programs and fair trade policies.

More than a year ago, the IAM and AFT formed a partnership to jointly organize healthcare workers across the United States leading to a groundbreaking healthcare organizing victory in New Mexico.

“People get the transformative power of collective bargaining, that’s why we are trying to do it together, starting with healthcare organizing and we have seen results already,” said Weingarten. “We are going to represent together [giving workers] a voice to advocate and negotiate for themselves and their patients.”

Weingarten reaffirmed AFT’s commitment to working together with the IAM not only around organizing efforts but also advocating for policies that include training, funding, and support for high-skill careers to improve the lives of working men and women.

“The AFT will always stand with the IAM,” said Weingarten. “We will be with you walking that line anywhere and everywhere we are because we are in this moment together, not just this moment, but each and every single moment.”