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UFT “Endorsements” – a frustrating year – Part I

July 2, 2015 am31 10:50 am

At the June 2014 United Federation of Teachers Delegate Assembly, thirteen months ago, I asked a question.

Paul Egan had moved the contingency endorsement resolution (any endorsement questions that come up in the summer get referred to the Executive Board), MORE delegate Megan Moskop rose in opposition, saying that a special DA could be called, or that electronic voting could be used, and objecting to back room deals (the phrase “back room” drew hoots from the audience and a comment from Mulgrew).

We’ve had the contingency resolutions in the past, they are generally non-controversial. But we had the governor’s race sitting in front of us.

I rose to ask if a Cuomo endorsement could happen under the contingency resolution. And Mulgrew said no. For something that big, he said, we would not do it without the Delegate Assembly. Satisfied, I voted yes.

And then, over the summer, there was no official UFT or NYSUT Cuomo endorsement. Case closed?

Hardly. My question was two weeks too late. The UFT had already “watched” the Working Families Party deliver their line to Cuomo – ensuring that the best route for a strong challenge had been blocked off. One report said that the UFT (must mean an officer or top official) threatened to destroy the WFP if it didn’t endorse Cuomo.

Our role in the governor’s race did not improve. In September Regina Gori’s motion to endorse Zephyr Teachout over Cuomo in the primary was defeated by the UFT leadership’s caucus. And on the eve of the primary Randi Weingarten, AFT President, made phone calls, not as AFT President, to support Cuomo’s running mate. The UFT officially remained neutral in the general election. But not working against a powerful governor is not very different from working for him.

The rest is history. The WFP/Cuomo deal? Every promise Cuomo made, he broke. Cuomo and the teachers? We don’t need to ask.

If we had fought Cuomo, could we have stopped him?  Wrong question. We didn’t get beaten. We lay down, and got kicked repeatedly in the teeth.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. mrportelos permalink
    July 2, 2015 am31 11:14 am 11:14 am

    For these reasons, and many, many others, Michael Mulgrew will be leaving the UFT leadership on June 30th 2016.

    Hope is coming and we hope that New Action will join us. http://www.uftsolidarity.org/mulgrewslastday

    Francesco Portelos

  2. Arthur Goldstein permalink
    July 2, 2015 am31 11:25 am 11:25 am

    How does Randi Weingarten make robocalls not as the AFT President? What influence does Randi Weingarten have as “not UFT President.” Does anyone seriously believe that Hochul had Randi make robocalls not as AFT President, but just as a swell person?

    I find that idea more than a little absurd.

    • July 2, 2015 am31 11:39 am 11:39 am

      Isn’t it possible that I blogged this not as a blogger? Or that you asked your question, but not as an asker? And who but an absurdist could truly judge if this is absurd?

      • Jason Dyer permalink
        July 2, 2015 pm31 12:38 pm 12:38 pm

        I’m afraid Arthur’s got a good point, unless you mean Randi Weingarten did not say he was Randi Weingarten.

        • July 2, 2015 pm31 9:35 pm 9:35 pm

          The claim that she was not calling as AFT President is on its face absurd. Within the context of my union, quoting her without further remark, would be interpreted as pointing out the absurdity.

          But it’s been so long since I’ve written much, I forget that there are readers who do not know internal union politics. My bad.

          I was, in fact, making fun of an absolutely ridiculous claim.

      • Arthur Goldstein permalink
        July 2, 2015 pm31 4:53 pm 4:53 pm

        Food for thought. I guess if you aren’t you and I’m not me, then Randi isn’t Prez of the AFT. Not sure why that didn’t occur to me.

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