Saturday, March 21, 2015


It is positive news that the UFT will endorse and work to help elect Jesus Chuy Garcia for Mayor of Chicago.  Garcia faces a runoff election against incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanual on April 7, 2015.  Both are Democrats.

This blog fully supports this endorsement.

Two questions, however, come to mind:

1-If the UFT and AFT can do this in Chicago, why were they unable to oppose Michael Bloomberg's bid for a third term for mayor in NYC in 2009 when he had to have the law changed to run?  Bloomberg had certainly done plenty of damage to us by 2009.

2-Why were the UFT-NYSUT-AFT unable to oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo bid for reelection last year when he faced a primary election challenge from Democrat Zephyr Teachout? Cuomo since he was elected in 2010 had obviously shown he was no friend of teachers or working people in general.

The resolution below is on the Executive Board agenda for Monday night:

WHEREAS, voters in Chicago will go to the polls on April 7, 2015 for a mayoral runoff election between the incumbent, Rahm Emanuel, and his challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, known as Chuy; and
WHEREAS, the runoff was precipitated when incumbent Emanuel failed to win the required 50 percent of the vote in polling on Feb. 24,  despite his having a 12-to-1 fundraising advantage over his nearest competitor, Chuy Garcia; and
WHEREAS, Garcia is a strong supporter of public education, teachers and unions, and has won the backing of major unions including the Chicago Teachers Union, the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union; and
WHEREAS, Garcia, a Mexican immigrant, is also an advocate for the rights of working people, immigrants and racial minorities; and
WHEREAS, Garcia is well-experienced, having served as a Chicago City Council member and the first Mexican-American member of the Illinois State Senate before winning election as a county commissioner; and
WHEREAS, Garcia’s candidacy draws a sharp contrast with that of Emanuel, whose disdain for public schools and public school educators helped lead to a prolonged teachers’ strike in 2013; and
WHEREAS, Emanuel’s lack of support for public education was further evidenced by his closing 50 neighborhood public schools in one fell swoop in 2013; and
WHEREAS, the closed schools were mostly in African American and Hispanic neighborhoods and were shuttered despite prolonged and passionate protests by parents, neighbors and the broader public to keep them open; and
WHEREAS, Emanuel’s arrogance and his policies that favor the affluent have earned him the moniker, Mayor 1 percent; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers stands with our sister union, the Chicago Teachers Union, and with the AFT in support of the candidacy of Jesus Garcia, and will work with them to help Garcia as mayor of Chicago.


Chaz said...

Really? and who in Chicago cares about what the UFT thinks? Worse, how much of our money will be going to Chicago?

Maybe the UFT should be fighting hard in their own backyard rather then worry about what's going on in a City 1,000 miles away.

Anonymous said...

I think they are hosting a fundraiser for Chuy.

Anonymous said...

That will be great if they host a fundraiser for Chuy.

But, opposing Emanuel is not the same as opposing Cuomo or Bloomberg, it isn't in their backyard. Easy to do
from afar and give the watery impression that you actually stand up for your members and their counterparts in other American locales.

Another UFT mirrors game.

Anonymous said...

This could be Randi leading the Hillary forces to teach the Obama people a lesson in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Not impressed. Another game played. Nothing has changed at the UFT or NYSUT .... everything they do is suspect and usually wrong. So many of us are ready to abandon ship.

Anonymous said...

Abandon ship and do what? Help wake up people to vote them out?

Anonymous said...

I think comparing what goes on in Chicago to the landscape of nyc politics is not fair. The fact is that UFT supporting Chuy will have an effect not only on Chicago (if he wins) but all around the country including NYC. If the UFT does something good they should be credited for that or your criticism on issues means nothing if the best you can do is a backhanded compliment.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the political powers in office LOVE Michael Mulgrew. Why? Because he is basically a EUNUCH who can offer no harm at all to them whatsoever. Why? Because I believe that there are some skeletons in Mulgrew's closet that if revealed, would cost him his job. So, if he remains non-threatening, he keeps his job. If he becomes a problem for a particular official, such as Cuomo, the skeletons are revealed and he loses his cushy $250,000 year job. Back to the that's a scary thought.

Harris L. said...

As others have said, easy to endorse an insurgent candidate in someone else's backyard. It's like going to Atlantic City and putting a small pile of chips on Black-17. If you win, it was worth the trip and if you lose you shrug your shoulders. All the Chicago endorsement requires is some words and a small check, with nice effect if Chuy wins but the end result otherwise of no consequence to core UFT interests.

In 2009, no one saw Thompson's semi-surge at the end, finishing within 5% of Bloomberg--at the time of the non-endorsement, it was still, and is still, "protect the seat at the table" or "don't burn all your bridges" or some combination of the mixed metaphors. They endorsed Thompson in 2013, just when he really couldn't win, when, in retrospect, some UFT time and money in 2009 might have resulted in Mayor Bill the First instead of Mayor Mike.

Last year, no one really expected Teachout to win. Many of us thought she'd do "better than expected" but never as much better than expected as she did. UFT support might have put her over the top in the tiny turnout primary. But the UFT is the ultimate risk-averse organization so non-endorsement is going to beat taking a chance on an insurgent in New York City or State every day of the week. Unfortunately for the UFT, Cuomo took non-endorsement, predictably, as opposition, and removed the UFT's seat at the table, anyway.

Since Weingrew thought Sheldon Silver would always be there to protect them, it doesn't make any sense that they would choose to incur the Governor's wrath indirectly when they might have incurred his wrath directly and gained some cred with the membership in the process. Randi's robocalls on behalf of Hochul make even less sense because helping save Hochul--by itself--could never gain one jot of credit from Cuomo by the time she'd made them.

I can only conclude that the UFT and AFT are genetically unable to play the political game in any intelligent or credible manner. Mulgrew now runs around town explaining to everyone who'll listen how he and BDB are BFFs, which may be true, but that BFFness had to be purchased from the Mayor by Mulgrew presenting to him on bended knee a contract proposal that manifestly sold out the members.

The AFT spent $6.4 million on political contributions during the disastrous 2014 elections. Our leaders, evidently, thoroughly enjoy making bad political endorsements and then throwing significant amount of our money down the drain to help their candidates lose.

God bless COPE. At least if you're a political director for the UFT, AFT or NEA.

[And I cannot imagine how the Chicago endorsement has anything to do with Randi and Hillary "teaching Obama a lesson in Chicago," as someone suggests, above.]

Anonymous said...

Charity begins at home.

ed notes online said...

The important point I believe is that the only reason Chuy exists as a candidate and has a chance to win is due almost soley to the work of the CTU - imagine - Karen was a strong candidate and they still managed to salvage a major campaign out of the disappointment of her illness. How can they do that and the UFT can't? Reason is their different routes to gaining and maintaining power. And note -- to all my friends who disparage social justice unionism where efforts in communities working with real grassroots org that make independent decisions as apposed to the UFT doing astro-turf where they control the message - it's time to fess up and admit that the only reason Chuy has a chance is due to social justice unionism. CTU doesn't just talk narrow teacher issues. Note where that gets them vs the UFT continuous failed endorsements.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:22- The UFT did something odd and wants credit??? Yesterday I held the door for the person walking behind me. Stop the presses and get my parade started. Doing the right thing should be expected, not done to gain credit. The fact is the UFT refuses to admit that Danielson is an unreasonable evaluative tool and no percentage of teachers' rating should be tied to test scores. Until Mulgrew and Randi and Magee start speaking that truth, I'm not giving them any compliments--backhanded or otherwise. Roseanne McCosh

Anonymous said...

something "good" not "odd"

Anonymous said...

Does social justice unionism mean doing what they are doing in the suburbs to save the teaching profession in NY? Are you going to ally with those white Republican leaning, property tax hating people who are saving the teaching profession and public schools in NYS? Will they go for the rethinking schools anti US curriculum? Very simplistic to say it's social justice unionism. There is more to it.

ed notes online said...

Well the CTU is very connected to Rethinking Schools and SJ unionism. You'd rather push your right wing crap and end up with the UFT. I imagine you might have lined up with Shanker in supporting the Vietnam war.

Anonymous said...

It might work in the cities but not the suburbs. The suburbs are saving us in NYS now.