UFT “Endorsements” – a frustrating year – Part I
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.