Monday, October 31, 2016


There were three articles in the Daily News last week on possible union support for Mayor Bill de Blasio's reelection coming in 2017. In the initial pieces on Monday, Transportation Workers Union Local 100 leader John Samuelson led the charge against the mayor. Samuelson called the mayor "a situational progressive at best, and definitely not an ardent trade union supporter."

Samuelson's conclusion:

To my brothers and sisters in the labor movement, I say this: thoughtfully contemplate whether de Blasio really shares our trade union values before you give he mayor your stamp of approval. At Bill's core, it's all about Bill, not the trade unionist working families we represent.

In a related front page story, Samuelson is joined by Teamsters Local 237 (school safety agents union) head Gregory Floyd who accuses the mayor of backing his "deep pocketed supporters" over union interests. It is also no surprise that Patrolman's Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch joined in because of de Blasio's inadequate labor contract imposed by arbitrators on the police.

The mayor certainly does have labor supporters who point to his rent freeze, mandatory paid leave policies and settled municipal labor contracts. Noticeably missing from last Monday's articles was UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Never one to keep his mouth strategically closed, Mulgrew responded later and had his own feature article in Tuesday's News where of course he backed the mayor. Mulgrew's exact words on de Blasio:

He's done very well with us, and I think he's done a pretty good job with the city.

Mulgrew then goes on to insult our collective intelligence by saying it is up to the UFT Delegate Assembly, not him, to decide on an endorsement as if his Unity loyalty oath taking followers who dominate DA ever do anything the union leadership doesn't want.

The question I have for ICEBlog readers is this:

Does Mayor de Blasio deserve the UFT's unwavering support for reelection?

I would say the answer is no. The municipal pattern setting seven year contract we agreed to in 2014 contained 10% salary increases over seven years giving city workers the worst pattern raises since I became a teacher in the 1980s. Educators also have to wait to 2020 to be paid in full for work we did in 2009 while other city workers were paid back then. Meanwhile, the city is running huge budget surpluses.

In addition, there are healthcare givebacks and maybe just as significantly teaching and learning conditions in too many schools have not improved at all since de Blasio took office in 2014. Numerous schools have outrageously high class sizes; safety is non existent; kids are pushed along who have no business passing in order to get New York City's record graduation rate; excessive paperwork is out of control;  and classroom observations are too often a nightmare. Promoting these policies are too many abusive principals and assistant principals who are making UFT member lives hell on a daily basis. The UFT"s response is usually low key and behind the scenes.

Is Mulgrew right that the mayor has been good to us or has not that not much, if anything, improved since de Blasio became mayor in 2014?


Anonymous said...

The schools are dangerous. The working conditions are much worse than when Bloomberg was in office and we're paying more for everything. DeBlasio is clueless and Mulgrew is worse - he sees deBlasio with rose colored glasses because he was traumatized by Mean Mike.

Dr_Dru said...

NO mayor deserves unconditional support. Mayors need us, they need to work to get our support. We should never either as teachers in the classroom, or as a union give before we get. If we want better behavior, the behavior must change first, the reward or praise second. So, I am in agreement with James. The Mayor and Chancellor have not done much if anything to ease our burdens or compensate us for them. They are J. Wellington Wimpy and we are the diner that always feeds them.

Anonymous said...

I just read the comments from the other union presidents - they make sense. They basically say its up to the members. Mulgrew is exceptionality deficient as a union president. It had me thinking of "The World According to Garp". The synopsis for the ' World According to Mulgrew' should read like this : "A lawyer during a career transition, Randi Weingarten, conceives with a dying pilot and bears a boy named Mike Mulgrew whom she raises alone. When Mulgrew grows up, he has some success leading the UFT, but not nearly so much as his mother has with feminist-themed nonfiction."

Anonymous said...

If Bill wants our vote he can easily get it by doing the following: 1) Restore our parking permits. 2) Ensure that all tenured teachers receive 2 observations per year as required by NYS law. 3) Bring class sizes down to numbers comparable to the rest of the state. (Number 3 is a tough one to do but it is possible)

Anonymous said...

Parking permits that's what I want. No wonder we are picked on so much. How about some respect for what we do?

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew, like Weingarten, feels our votes are something he has the right to give away lightly without consultation. Surprises will abound for both. Clinton is not winning this election and DeBlasio has been finished for over a year. Someone should tell Mulgrew.

Anonymous said...

Meathead Mike represents NYC's "Brightest" (you know the same crowd that couldn't tell the difference between a COLA and an actual raise). And so when he say "DeBlahsio good" he expects this group that can't think for themselves to march in lockstep.

Anonymous said...

Didnt you hear, suspensions went down again, by a lot, everything just be goin great...

Anonymous said...

I think that the fact the UFT is supporting Clinton means that Clinton will lose
on November 8th.

Anonymous said...

I'm seriously tempted to vote for Trump, because I just got an email from Mulgrew pleading with me to vote for Hillary. He shouldn't have sent that out. Mulgrew is as clueless as DeBlasio.