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DA Report for February

Two former chapter leaders receive Council endorsements

New York Teacher

The initial fruits of the UFT's efforts to get its members more engaged with the political process were on display at the Delegate Assembly on Feb. 12.

Resolutions to endorse two former chapter leaders in their efforts to be elected to the City Council in 2021 were unanimously approved, a highlight of a busy DA agenda.

"We have been talking about this for a while," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. "Politics is important to us, to our schools and to our students. That's why we have been urging members to run for public office. We need people elected who know and understand our issues."

Mulgrew introduced the resolution to endorse UFT Special Representative Briget Rein for City Council in District 39 in western Brooklyn in the June 2021 Democratic primary, citing her political activism both within and outside the union.

Several other speakers followed Mulgrew.

"Her tenacity, the way she cares about children and the way she has worked to make this union strong politically is really important," Pathways to Graduation Chapter Leader Michael Friedman said. "What I really want is for her to get the chance to do for the rest of the people in this city what she has done for this union."

After the unanimous vote, Rein came into the room and thanked the delegates for the endorsement.

"I am going to represent all of you at City Hall," Rein said. "You're my family, and I'm ready to make you proud."

Eric Dinowitz Headshot
Erica Berger

Special education teacher Eric Dinowitz received the UFT endorsement for City Council at the same meeting.

The delegates also unanimously approved a resolution to endorse Eric Dinowitz, a special education teacher at New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math HS in Manhattan and a former chapter leader, for City Council in District 11 in the west Bronx in the June 2021 Democratic primary.

"Eric has been a New York City public school teacher for more than 12 years, and he knows what public schools need," said UFT Bronx Borough Representative Mary Atkinson, who introduced the motion. "He supports workers' rights, he supports small class size and he supports mental health intervention for students who need it."

Dinowitz, who wasn't at the meeting, told the New York Teacher that the union's early endorsement was "incredibly meaningful." "Education will always be a priority for me as a City Council member, public school teacher and parent," he said.

The remaining seven resolutions on the agenda also were passed. They called for the UFT to:

  • Urge its affiliates and allies to support legislation to improve the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Reaffirm its opposition to hate and discrimination in light of recent hate-filled attacks.
  • Support earthquake victims in Puerto Rico.
  • Lobby for French translation for all state exams that are translated.
  • Honor the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UFT on March 16.
  • Endorse UFT Assistant Treasurer Tom Brown for reelection as one of three teacher members of the New York City Teachers' Retirement Board.
  • Endorse Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for reelection this year.

Read the full resolutions

Related Topics: Political Action