United Federation of Teachers Endorses Bill Thompson for Mayor!

Dear Commons Community,

The United Federation of Teachers on Wednesday endorsed William C. Thompson Jr. in the race for mayor of New York. The endorsement from the teachers’ union, one of the most prized of the campaign, could help jump-start the candidacy of Mr. Thompson, a former city comptroller, as he seeks to extend his support ahead of a Democratic primary in September.  As reported in the New York Times:

“Union leaders described Mr. Thompson as a longtime advocate for students who would work to address the concerns of teachers, including reducing standardized testing and ending the city’s practice of closing low-performing schools.

Standing with Mr. Thompson at a news conference, Michael Mulgrew, the union president, said, “We need to make sure that this entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and we now have a candidate we know will do that.”

In accepting the endorsement, Mr. Thompson said he could sympathize with the difficulties teachers face. He recalled his mother, a former teacher in Brooklyn, falling asleep shortly after coming home from work each day.

“When I’m mayor, I’m going to fight day and night to help the teachers of New York,” he said.

The endorsement was something of a risk for the union, which has not aligned itself with a successful candidate for mayor since 1989, when it supported David N. Dinkins. The union has avoided many races since then; it last made an endorsement in 2001. It passed over Mr. Thompson in 2009, when he was the Democratic nominee running against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a political independent.

The strength of the teachers’ union imprimatur in this election remains to be seen, even though it has at its disposal a treasury of at least $2.5 million, a large base of members to volunteer in get-out-the-vote efforts and a sophisticated trove of data to help it go after likely voters.

The union — which counts about 200,000 teachers, retirees and other school employees as members — finds itself at the center of a deep division among labor groups.

The city’s largest union, 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, which represents health care workers, is supporting another Democrat, Bill de Blasio, the public advocate. And District Council 37, a large union representing municipal workers, has endorsed John C. Liu, the city comptroller.”

Good luck Mr. Thompson and congratulations on securing the U.F.T. endorsement.



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