The Teacher's Candidate: The UFT Endorses Bill Thompson for Mayor
Made up of over 70,000 members, the United Federation of Teachers has demanded a voice in this upcoming mayoral election. President Michael Mulgrew told the Observer two weeks ago that he expected his union to sway the election; the reason why each Democratic candidate has gone above and beyond to court his attention. And, as of last night, it looks like one of the most powerful unions in city politics has made its decision: The UFT wants Bill Thompson as its mayor (Sorry, Anthony Weiner).
It is official. UFT delegate assembly endorses Bill Thompson for mayor. Game on!
— UFT (@UFT) June 19, 2013
As seen above, the endorsement was announced on Twitter. The official vote came from the UFT's 3,400-member delegate assembly after the executive board made the recommendation for Thompson.
Thompson is no stranger to the UFT. Before assuming the comptroller position, the mayoral candidate was a high school teacher and the head of the pre-mayoral-control Board of Education. However, in 2008, the UFT endorsed Democratic state Senator Kevin Parker, not Thompson, who went on to become the nominee.
Thompson's platform includes a moratorium on school closure and additional DOE funding for school supplies. But he hasn't made a move on the UFT's largest concern--receiving over $3 billion in back wages from City Hall that Mulgrew believes is owed to his union from seven years without a contract.
Also, akin to John Liu's DC37 endorsement, the UFT support for Thompson seems a bit strange when one takes a look at poll numbers: the two most prominent labor chapters have endorsed the two candidates least likely to win. Of course, it's only June; things can and will change.
Then again, the UFT has endorsed losing candidates the past three mayoral elections. So maybe Mulgrew isn't onto something.
Send your tips on the 2013 mayoral race to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his tweets here.
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