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Labor rallies for Jackson's state Senate bid

Robert Jackson (at podium) addresses supporters, including UFT President Michael Miller Photography

Robert Jackson (at podium) addresses supporters, including UFT President Michael Mulgrew (left), at a rally on the Upper West Side on Sept. 9.

Labor leaders from across the city rallied on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Sept. 9 in support of Robert Jackson, a longtime education advocate and former City Council member running for the Democratic nomination to represent the 31st District in the state Senate.

Jackson is in a tight race with two other major competitors in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said endorsing Jackson was an easy decision. He’s “the one candidate who is above and beyond all the others,” he said. “His entire life has been dedicated to the people of this district.”

UFT volunteers have been working phone banks and knocking on doors on behalf of Jackson since late July.

Jackson was a co-founder of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which sued the state for inadequate funding of public schools and won a court settlement of $16 billion for New York City public schools — an amount Albany has yet to fully deliver. He will join the Alliance for Quality Education on Oct. 2 for a walk to the state capital.

“I know how to listen to constituents and stand up for their rights,” Jackson said. “It’s important that all of these unions have come together. I cannot win without you.”

The rally also featured speakers from the New York City Central Labor Council, District Council 37 and its locals, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the Professional Staff Congress, the Civil Service Employees Association and the Communications Workers of America.

Michael Fabricant, the treasurer and first vice president of the Professional Staff Congress, which represents faculty and staff at the City University of New York, called Jackson “a man of character.”

“We need more like him in Albany to make the kind of investments in K-12 and higher education that our children deserve,” Fabricant said.

After the rally, Fabricant was heading to the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, where the faculty, which is represented by an AFT affiliate, was locked out on Labor Day weekend.  That was “all about busting the union,” he said. “And to the extent that we can get legislators like Jackson up to Albany, it speaks to our ability to strengthen labor resistance and action.” 

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