News stories

Mayor’s jab at UFT an all-time low

Compares union to NRA, prompting citywide outcry

New York State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is among those who demanded the mayo Bruce Cotler

New York State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is among those who demanded the mayor apologize for his offensive remark.

Letter to the mayor

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

As parents, community leaders and elected officials who care about the city’s public schools, we are shocked by your comments that compare the United Federation of Teachers to the National Rifle Association.

Coming three weeks after the senseless killings in Newtown, CT, such an offensive comparison not only vilifies New York City teachers, but also mocks the work they do every day to educate, uplift and protect our children.

Your comments are particularly inappropriate given the fact that the UFT was among the first organizations to provide counseling and assistance to the teachers and staff of Newtown after the tragedy.

You have earned a national reputation for speaking out against the excesses of the NRA. Your comments Friday, however, show astonishingly poor judgment and are unworthy of you, your position and your record.

You owe the teachers of New York City and their union an immediate and unconditional apology.

Sincerely,

Peter Abbate
New York State Assembly

Eric Adams
New York State Senate

Joseph Addabbo
New York State Senate

Vincent Alvarez
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Zakiyah Ansari
New Yorkers for Great Public Schools

Maria del Carmen Arroyo
New York City Council

Tony Avella
New York State Senate

Inez Barron
New York State Assembly

James Brennan
New York State Assembly

Gale Brewer
New York City Council

Alec Brook-Krasny
New York State Assembly

Karim Camara
New York State Assembly

Arthur Cheliotes
Communication Workers of America Local 1180

Margaret Chin
New York City Council

T. Elzora Cleveland
Former President, Community Education Council District 2

Andrew Cohen
Candidate for New York City Council

William Colton
New York State Assembly

Leroy Comrie
New York City Council

Costa Constantinides
Candidate for New York City Council

Marcos Crespo
New York State Assembly

Elizabeth Crowley
New York City Council

Steven Cymbrowitz
New York State Assembly

Mona Davids
NYC Parents Union

Bill de Blasio
New York City Public Advocate

Michael DenDekker
New York State Assembly

Brian De Vale
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Erik Dilan
New York City Council

Jeffrey Dinowitz
New York State Assembly

Daniel Dromm
New York City Council

Hazel Dukes
NAACP

Billy Easton
Alliance for Quality Education

Adriano Espaillat
New York State Senate

Rafael Espinal
New York State Assembly

Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Julissa Ferreras
New York City Council

Lewis Fidler
New York City Council

Daniel Garodnick
New York City Council

Vincent Gentile
New York City Council

Vanessa Gibson
New York State Assembly

Noah Gotbaum
Candidate for New York City Public Advocate

Richard Gottfried
New York State Assembly

David Greenfield
New York City Council

Mark Winston Griffith
Brooklyn Movement Center

Al Hagan
Uniformed Fire Officers Association

Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters

Megan Hester
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice

Brad Hoylman
New York State Senate

Robert Jackson
New York City Council

Letitia James
New York City Council

Hakeem Jeffries
U.S. Congress

Corey Johnson
Candidate for New York City Council

Sarah Johnson
Working Families Party

Benjamin Kallos
Candidate for New York City Council

Michael Kink
Strong Economy for All

Peter Koo
New York City Council

Karen Koslowitz
New York City Council

Liz Krueger
New York State Senate

Yetta Kurland
Activist/radio host

Rory Lancman
New York State Assembly

Brad Lander
New York City Council

Marc Landis
Candidate for New York City Council

Stephen Levin
New York City Council

Mark Levine
New York City Democratic District Leader

John Liu
New York City Comptroller

Ernest Logan
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Alan Maisel
New York State Assembly

Grace Meng
U.S. Congress

Julie Menin
Former Chair, Manhattan Community Board 1

Metro A. Philip Randolph Institute

Michael Miller
New York State Assembly

Joan Millman
New York State Assembly

Walter T. Mosley
New York State Assembly

Francisco Moya
New York State Assembly

New Yorkers for Great Public Schools

Félix Ortiz
New York State Assembly

Kevin Parker
New York State Senate

José Peralta
New York State Senate

Nick Perry
New York State Assembly

Dan Quart
New York State Assembly

Christine Quinn
New York City Council Speaker

Domenic Recchia Jr.
New York City Council

Antonio Reynoso
Candidate for New York City Council

Donovan Richards
Candidate for New York City Council

Camille Rivera
United NY

Annette Robinson
New York State Assembly

Robert Rodriguez
New York State Assembly

Ydanis Rodriguez
New York City Council

Linda Rosenthal
New York State Assembly

Nily Rozic
New York State Assembly

Matt Ryan
ALIGN

Wanda Salaman
Mothers on the Move

John Sampson
New York State Senate

Jeremy Saunders
VOCAL NY

Diane Savino
New York State Senate

William Scarborough
New York State Assembly

Karen Scharff
Citizen Action of New York

José Serrano
New York State Senate

Chris Shelton
Communications Workers of America District 1

Toby Ann Stavisky
New York State Senate

Scott Stringer
Manhattan Borough President

Patrick Sullivan
Panel for Educational Policy

William Thompson
Former New York City Comptroller

James Vacca
New York City Council

Javier Valdes
Make the Road New York

Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council

Albert Vann
New York City Council

Pastor Michael Walrond
First Corinthian Baptist Church

Peter Ward
New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council

Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers

Helene Weinstein
New York State Assembly

David Weprin
New York State Assembly

Mark Weprin
New York City Council

Jonathan Westin
New York Communities for Change

Jumaane Williams
New York City Council

Ocynthia Williams
Parent Advocate

Ruben Wills
New York City Council

Tesa Wilson
Community Education Council District 14

Laurie Windsor
Community Education Council District 20

Keith Wright
New York State Assembly

Elected officials, community and union leaders and three of the four Democratic candidates for mayor gathered on the City Hall steps on Jan. 7 to demand an apology from Mayor Bloomberg for likening the UFT to the National Rifle Association on his Jan. 4 radio show.

The mayor’s remarks prompted some 120 elected officials and community leaders to send a letter calling for an apology and stating that the comparison was particularly inappropriate just three weeks after the Newtown school shootings.

Apparently piqued by the UFT’s new ad calling on him to negotiate a new teacher evaluation system, the mayor suggested on his weekly radio show that the UFT, just like the NRA, was out of sync with its rank-and-file members.

Bloomberg contended that in both organizations, “the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.”

Mulgrew blasted the mayor at the Jan. 7 press conference for his “demonization” of teachers, which he said had “reached a new low.”

In a letter later that day to the mayor, Mulgrew wrote, “At a time when we need to work together to strengthen our schools, you only do further damage to our schools and the communities that rely on them by resorting to the same divisive tactics that have crippled our national political system.”

Also speaking at the press conference, AFT President Randi Weingarten called the mayor’s comparison “disgusting” and said that it could undermine his work as a national advocate for greater gun control and possibly efforts to restrict gun ownership in the United States.

“It is a shame for the mayor to use that kind of analogy in a collective-bargaining spat,” Weingarten said.

Three Democratic candidates for mayor appeared at the press conference.

City Comptroller John Liu said that the mayor should apologize because “the belligerence of the NRA” was in part responsible for the attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claimed the lives of seven educators killed while trying to protect their students. The comparison to the NRA showed an “utter disrespect for teachers,” Liu said.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson also called for an immediate apology from the mayor. “When we disagree, we don’t demonize people. We don’t insult people. We don’t go to the lowest common denominator. But that’s what the mayor has done,” Thompson said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, also running for the city’s top office, said that the mayor’s remarks were “not becoming for the leader of the biggest city in the country.” He continued, “The mayor is very good at hurling insults and he’s not particularly good at apologizing — and it is time to apologize.”

The fourth Democratic candidate for mayor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, also was in total support of the union. She signed the letter and released a public statement, but was not present at the press conference.

Read more: News stories
Related topics: political action
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