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UFT won’t endorse Bloomberg – that’s not good enough

February 16, 2020 pm29 6:56 pm

The United Federation of Teachers has created a convoluted rationale for not making an endorsement at this time in the presidential race. Given their history of endorsements, I am surprised anyone is upset.

In short, the national federation, the American Federation of Teachers, has given the green light to locals to make an endorsement. But the UFT has said they are so influential, that if they made an endorsement it would prejudice the whole open process. Well….

In the meantime, Michael Mulgrew is running to become a Biden delegate. I guess the UFT president plumping for a candidate is not an endorsement. Huh? Can you make sense of that? Not likely. In any case, I guess it seemed a lock that Mulgrew’d be going to the DNC as a Biden delegate when he signed up, but with Joe choking in Iowa and New Hampshire, maybe Mulgrew will lose. It’s harder to run in elections where the outcome is not predetermined.

UFTers for Bernie is pushing for the UFT to endorse Sanders. Unlikely with AFT President Weingarten knocking Bernie on Twitter for having loyal supporters and championing universal healthcare.

In the meantime, the UFT leadership remembers who Bloomberg is, and Mulgrew makes it seem like he won’t endorse Bloomberg. Though, perhaps not strangely, the AFT’s Randi Weingarten seems to take a deferential tack towards Bloomberg. The sliver-tongued billionaire often manipulated Weingarten with flattery when she was UFT president, much to our members’ detriment.

Would it really be so bad if the UFT just sat out the primary?  Well, yes. Not endorsing someone seems neutral, but leaving the door open for Bloomberg is not neutral. And the UFT leadership has played this game before.

In 2009 when Bloomberg and his sidekicks changed the law to allow a third term as NYC mayor (which the UFT did not oppose), and with a close race – though with Bloomberg in the lead – going into the final weeks of the campaign, the UFT leadership sat it out. I brought it to the Delegate Assembly, tried to do the right thing, but Mulgrew and Barr wouldn’t have it. Result: a five point win for Bloomberg.

This can’t happen again. The UFT on the sidelines means a tacit ok for voting for Bloomberg – or worse, for supporting Trump. UFT leadership needs to be clear, loud, and strong against both billionaire anti-public education, racist oligarchs running for president. Silence would equal complicity.

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