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June 19, 2013
At UFT headquarters, energy high for Thompson endorsement
Charlene Jackson, a teacher at P.S. 64 in Manhattan, was among the first UFT members to exit a meeting to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor with a poster supporting his candidacy. The United Federation of Teachers' months-long process to endorse a mayoral candidate ended today with a warm embrace between President Michael Mulgrew and Bill Thompson, the former Board of Education president who will get the union's support. Thompson got the nod after a series of meetings that concluded with a vote by thousands of delegates in which the vast majority supported endorsing him, teachers said. Afterwards, teachers were handed bright posters touting the candidate, which many brandished as they exited the union's Lower Manhattan headquarters. At a press conference after the endorsement vote, Thompson was coy after he was asked whether he was worried that the union's support could prove to be a "kiss of death," as Mayor Bloomberg alleged earlier this week. "If I received a kiss from the UFT today, I'm feeling pretty warm and fuzzy," he said. Speaking to the delegates, Thompson delivered a seven-minute speech that focused on his respect for teachers. "I know how hard you all work!" he said, citing the example of his mother and daughter, who each taught in city schools.
June 19, 2013
What's going on before, during, and after the UFT endorsement
The UFT printed campaign posters for all major mayoral candidates in advance of today's meetings to endorse a candidate, so that materials are ready as soon as the choice is made. The union posted the photo to Twitter on Monday. For education voters, the mayoral campaign season has been building in large part to today, when the United Federation of Teachers will announce which candidate it is supporting. But the decision, which will come out around 5:45 p.m. today, hardly ends the education election. Instead, it simply opens a new phase, one in which education policy's prominence is far from assured. Until now From the time that campaign season kicked off so many moons ago, all of the Democratic candidates have been careful not to alienate the UFT. While the union's picks don't always win — as Mayor Bloomberg pointed out on Monday, it hasn't backed a winning mayoral candidate in over two decades — the UFT endorsement does confer money, cachet, and bodies to fuel a ground game that will be essential in the coming months. Even candidates seen as unlikely to win the union's support, such as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose help letting Bloomberg suspend term limits four years ago put her at a sharp disadvantage, were careful to infuse their education platforms with union-friendly positions. And all of the candidates who attended a forum the union held at its annual spring conference were effusive in their praise.
June 18, 2013
Principals union endorses Thompson, despite disagreements
A day before the teachers union is set to endorse a mayoral candidate, New York City's principals union has backed former Board of Education president Bill Thompson while acknowledging that they don't agree on all policy issues. "I don't know if we'll always agree on what's best," said Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. "But that's the difference here — having someone talk to you and be collaborative and listen to you." He added about Thompson, "He respects school leaders ... and we're not getting that" under Bloomberg. Logan signaled that the union's executive board was not at all unanimous in its decision. Thompson had twice as many votes as the next closest candidate, Logan said, but he won just 40 percent of the board's vote.
June 18, 2013
City principals union endorses Bill Thompson
Just in from the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators: The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, Local 1: AFSA, AFL-CIO, Endorses William C. Thompson, Jr. for Mayor NEW YORK, June 18, 2013 – The members of the Executive Board and the Advisory Committee for the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), the union representing nearly 16,000 NYC public school principals, assistant principals, educational administrators, directors and assistant directors of city-funded day care, and members of the union’s Retiree Chapter have voted to endorse William C. Thompson, Jr. for mayor of NYC.
May 30, 2013
On Facebook at least, no mayoral consensus for UFT members
With the United Federation of Teachers due to endorse a mayoral candidate in just three weeks, its members are — like all New Yorkers — divided over whom to stand behind. The union uploaded the cover of the new issue of New York Teacher, its newspaper for members, to Facebook on Wednesday, asking, "Who should we choose?" Teachers and others quickly responded with more than 100 comments that fell all over the electoral map. "Liu. He was pro teacher and Union before he was Comptroller and not running for mayor like they all are now, feeding teachers what they want to hear," wrote David Pambianchi. "I teach in the Flushing area, and Liu was always very supportive of our school when he was councilman. I'd back him if I thought he had a shot to win. Too much scandal around him," wrote Gary Malone. "I'd say Thompson or Deblasio."
May 23, 2013
UFT endorses 13 City Council candidates, including a teacher
The United Federation of Teachers might not have endorsed a mayoral candidate yet, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been busy picking politicians to support. The union has endorsed candidates in more than 40 local and citywide races, too. The UFT endorsed 13 City Council candidates in their Democratic primary races at its Delegate Assembly meeting Wednesday night. Seven of them are running for seats whose current occupants cannot run again because of term limits. The union plans to endorse candidates for all 19 open council seats. The union endorsed state Assemblywoman Inez Barron in the primary for the 42nd district, an East New York seat that has been filled by her husband Charles for the last 12 years. It's support that Charles Barron could not secure last year while running against Hakeem Jeffries in a Democratic primary for Congress. In that race, the UFT opted not to endorse either candidate. The UFT is also supporting one of its own in the 47th district primary, which encompasses several southern Brooklyn neighborhoods. Mark Treyger, a civics teacher and union delegate from New Utrecht High School, officially got the union's support on Wednesday evening.
May 23, 2013
A top UFT endorsement criterion: Whether a candidate can win
After hearing candidates pitch ideas to teachers at union-run forums across the city over the past few weeks, members apparently heard enough. They voted to scratch plans to open up Wednesday's union-wide Delegate Assembly meeting to comments. The meeting instead adjourned after UFT political director Paul Egan explained what laid ahead in the final stretch as the union prepared to make an endorsement. The workload includes a lot more vetting, with viability as a crucial quality, Egan explained, according to several people who attended last night's meeting at 52 Broadway. Over the next four weeks, Egan said his team of political consultants, which includes the firm Red Horse Strategies, will analyze fundraising and expenditures, who's advising and consulting for the candidates, and lots of poll data. There's one more task, too. The union said it plans to meet with and interview Anthony Weiner, who formally announced his candidacy on Wednesday. As usual, the Delegate Assembly meeting was closed to the press. But afterward, many delegates were eager to talk about their opportunity to play a role in the outcome of a monumental election.
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