Friday, June 21, 2013

UFT Endorses Bill Thompson

The UFT ended up endorsing Bill Thompson yesterday. (Also see Labor Seeks Influence in New York’s Mayoral Race). Yawn. DFER’s ED Joe Williams explains why:

In fact, on the same day that the UFT delegates will meet to make their mayoral endorsement, the union is scheduled to launch a task force to find out why more than four out of five active classroom teachers are completely disconnected from the once-proud union. In elections this spring, only 18% of the city's teaching force cared enough about what the UFT was doing that they even bothered to vote. (And of the 18% of active teachers who actually voted, one out of five of those teachers voted for someone other than Mulgrew.)

Mulgrew boldly declared recently that the UFT is not going to pick a mayor, it’s going to "make" a mayor. Unless he is talking about "making" the mayor of Boca Raton, that's unlikely to happen this year.

Where Shanker could claim to be the voice of thousands of city residents who marched with him across the East River, Mulgrew, essentially, speaks mainly for the washed-up UFT activists who are more likely to be headed for the buffet line at an early bird special somewhere in Florida than the election booth in Gotham this year.

This is one of the reasons the UFT hasn't endorsed a winning candidate for mayor in nearly a quarter century, since David Dinkins first run in 1990. Once considered a prime jewel for those aspiring to live in Gracie Mansion, today the UFT's endorsement is more show horse than work horse.

Like much of organized labor, the UFT is working to confront some changing realities in its rank-and-file. I actually believe the union will find its new voice and forge a novel new connection with the city's teachers at some point, out of necessity. The UFT endorsement will once again be one that truly matters in New York City. Just not this year.

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