UFT members have been working the phones and leafleting on street corners on behalf of Scott Stringer since the UFT Delegate Assembly endorsed him for New York City mayor in the June 22 Democratic Primary.
The April 19 endorsement followed an arduous four-month-long vetting process that included five town halls witnessed by more than 12,000 UFT members. The resolution to endorse Stringer, the current city comptroller, was carried with 90% of the vote at the Delegate Assembly, the union’s highest decision-making body.
“As a school system and as a city, we are going to be facing unprecedented challenges,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said during a press conference following the DA vote. “We have to have someone with a proven record of getting things done. That person is Scott Stringer.”
Stringer has been a “friend of the union for more than 20 years,” Mulgrew pointed out, from his time as assemblyman, through his tenure as Manhattan borough president and in his current post as city comptroller, which he assumed in 2014.
Despite recent allegations leveled at Stringer, the union stands firm on its endorsement.
“We support any individual who wants to make an allegation of sexual harassment,” Mulgrew said, “but at the same time, we are a union and we also support due process. At this point, we have not seen that process.”
Stringer is facing a crowded field of candidates, but he has successfully navigated tough campaigns in the past. He was the underdog against former City Council member Eva Moskowitz, now the head of Success Academy Charter Schools, in the 2006 race for Manhattan borough president, and he was a longshot in his 2013 run for city comptroller against Eliot Spitzer. Both times, he came from behind to win.
“When I get endorsed by the UFT, I win,” said Stringer, the parent of two New York City public school students. “Teachers vote, teachers work and teachers know what’s at stake.”
Mulgrew thanked the UFT members who participated in the process. “This work to vet the candidates wasn’t easy,” he said. “This union owes a debt of gratitude to all of those who took part.”
Karen Davis, a special education teacher at McKee HS on Staten Island who was among the volunteers, said the members “did our homework” and “our members chose Scott. He’s a friend of the union and I’m a proud union member.”
Gregory Monte, a special education teacher at Franklin D. Roosevelt HS in Brooklyn, called the vetting process “very empowering.”
“It was a very transparent process,” Monte said. “Ultimately, we went with a candidate who is not only battle-tested but one who has stood with us through every battle we have faced. Scott Stringer is the right candidate to support public schools and the children who go there.”
In speaking in favor of the resolution to endorse Stringer at the Delegate Assembly, Brooklyn Technical HS Delegate Katie Moylan said while “it wasn’t possible to select a candidate who will please every UFT member, we worked diligently to try to find a candidate who will serve every one of us.”
Adams, Yang poor choices for public education
By Joe LoVerde
UFT President Mulgrew called on members not to rank Eric Adams or Andrew Yang for mayor on their ballots on June 22.
“They are both proven enemies of the union and public education,” he said. “They just want to get into City Hall so they can move their agenda, and their agenda is based on making money, not helping children.”
The two candidates are likely to reestablish disastrous Bloomberg-style education policies in New York City, he warned. Like former mayor Michael Bloomberg, both Adams and Yang can be expected to bolster charter schools at the expense of public schools, he said.
Mulgrew pointed out that Adams and Yang are taking large contributions from organizations and people who support school privatization. “Look at the relationships,” he said. “Who are their friends? Who’s donating the money?”
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former police officer, has received more than $6 million in campaign contributions from the charter industry and its supporters. And Success Academy head Eva Moskowitz, who got rich running her charter empire, publicly thanked him on Twitter for his support.
Mulgrew noted that StudentsFirst, a political lobbying organization founded by Moskowitz, set up a fund on behalf of Adams. “I don’t think I have to spell out the problem here,” he said.
Adams has voiced support for a longer school day and year.
Yang, the former presidential candidate, is against teacher tenure, supports individual merit pay and is the founder of a charter school.
“The man who led the charge on the anti-public schools issues and closing schools and all that was Bradley Tusk, and he’s running Andrew Yang’s campaign,” Mulgrew said. “In fact, he recruited Andrew Yang to run for mayor.”