The UFT is backing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for mayor of New York in the city’s general election on Nov. 2.
UFT delegates voted to endorse Adams, along with Brad Lander for city comptroller and Jumaane Williams for public advocate, at their Oct. 13 gathering.
UFT Brooklyn Borough Representative Elizabeth Perez, who initiated the resolution to endorse Adams, noted that he had supported the union’s United Community Schools in Brooklyn with millions of dollars in capital grants.
“Eric Adams respects teachers, and he does not respect the DOE,” said retiree Marvin Reiskin, a former UFT political director and district representative, who made the case for endorsing Adams at the Delegate Assembly.
“He has worked to support nurses, and he has helped education in our schools by providing funding,” said Reiskin. “When Eric Adams was in the state Senate, he supported all of the education measures that NYSUT and the UFT asked him to support.”
Retired teacher and former chapter leader Kenneth Achiron also spoke in favor of Adams at the Delegate Assembly. “We may not agree on everything,” he said, “but he has certainly proved he respects the positions we have.”
In addition to the citywide races, the UFT is supporting candidates for borough president in four boroughs, candidates for district attorney in two boroughs and 48 candidates for the City Council.
Beginning three weeks before Election Day, the UFT launched a wave of mailings, text messages and digital ads, as well as ongoing phone banks, to help its endorsed candidates.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson is not running for reelection this year because of term limits, so the Council members must decide on their new leader by January. UFT delegates also unanimously approved a resolution calling for a woman to serve as the next speaker of the City Council.
Four of the City Council candidates running for office are current or former UFT members: Eric Dinowitz, who is running for reelection in District 11 in the northwest Bronx; Steven Saperstein, who is running for an open seat in District 48 in southern Brooklyn; Rita Joseph, who is running for an open seat in District 40 in the southeastern part of Prospect Park in Brooklyn; and Sal Albanese, a UFT retiree who is running for an open seat in District 50 on Staten Island.
Saperstein, a former New York City special education teacher, is running a “very, very contentious race” against a Republican opponent who has sent out mailers “absolutely blasting him” for having UFT support, said UFT Queens Political Action Coordinator Dermot Smyth.
“It’s very important that UFT members in that district come out and vote and bring their families out,” said Smyth.
The union has some 1,500 members in Saperstein’s district registered to vote.
Another UFT-endorsed candidate in a tight race is Justin Brannan, who is running for reelection in Council District 43 in Bay Ridge.