Mayor Bloomberg Insults NYC’s Teachers Union – Compares it to the NRA!

Dear Commons Community,

Michael Bloomberg has accomplished a great deal during his tenure as mayor:  the city is a safer place to live and work, his advocacy for gun safety  is admirable, business is welcome, employment opportunities are decent and better than many other parts of the country.  However, his dealing with the New York City school system and especially his relationship with the teachers union leaves a lot to be desired.  He and his former schools chancellor, Joel Klein, developed this adversarial relationship that can only be described as a “toxic environment” where cooperation and consensus building is frequently impossible.  His latest salvo came a couple of days ago when he compared the leadership of the UFT to the National Rifle Association during  negotiations for a new teacher evaluation system.   This was not the first time Mr. Bloomberg had invoked the National Rifle Association when registering his frustration with the city teachers’ union and others. He voiced similar opinions at a news conference in 2007.  The New York Times reported that during his weekly radio show on Friday:

“The mayor had embarked on a lengthy stream of consciousness on the need to negotiate a new teacher evaluation plan with the United Federation of Teachers. Toward the end, Mr. Bloomberg, almost as an aside, likened the teachers’ union to groups like the National Rifle Association and others in which he said a few leaders were out of sync with large numbers of rank-and-file members.

“It’s typical of Congress, it’s typical of unions, it’s typical of companies, I guess, where a small group is really carrying the ball and the others aren’t necessarily in agreement,” Mr. Bloomberg said to the program host, John Gambling. “The N.R.A. is another place where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.”

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers and the former president of its New York City affiliate, wrote a letter to the mayor, noting that two of the adults killed in Connecticut were members of her union. She said that despite Mr. Bloomberg’s “great work” on gun safety, he owed the city teachers and its union leaders an apology “for making such incendiary and insensitive remarks — especially coming on the heels of the tragedy in Newtown.”

The UFT was scheduled to hold a news conference today to underscore its outrage and to demand that the mayor apologize.






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