The Chief Leader civil service newspaper covered the story.
Even as Mayor de Blasio takes trips to New Hampshire and Iowa to burnish his national reputation as a progressive, city public-employee unions are spending nearly $1 million to offer voters a very different take on his job performance.
For John Samuelsen, the international president of the Transport Workers Union, the local newspaper ads in early-voting states is a wise investment in helping to shape the 2020 Democratic field and to correct what he believes are misconceptions about Mr. de Blasio’s record.
'He's a Fauxgressive'
“I think he is a fauxgressive, not a progressive,” Mr. Samuelsen said in a phone interview. “He’s the exact kind of Democrat that got Trump elected, and he’s exactly the kind of candidate that if he gets traction in the primary will get Trump re-elected.”He continued, “He’s in bed with non-union developers and the billionaire class. He’s an elitist that has this mix of the social liberal with the corporate Democrat, and that approach is a sure loser for us in states we need to win in, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.”
In 2016, the TWU was one of a handful of labor unions to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. It has yet to make a 2020 endorsement, but Mr. Samuelsen thinks a Sanders-like message is required to carry the states where Mr. Trump was able to make inroads in traditionally pro-union areas. “The working class is over and done with corporate Democrats,” he said. “Sanders has that edgy class-oriented economic-security message for working people.”
In response to the TWU leader's critique, Raul Contreras, a spokesman for the Mayor, said he had a progressive track record of which the city could be proud. “Pre-K and 3-K for all, mandatory paid personal leave, significant job growth, low crime and the lowest jail population since 1980. That’s a pretty good record they’re attacking,” he said.
EMS Unions Join Chorus
The TWU is not the only union spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to share its take on Mr. de Blasio with an audience beyond the five boroughs. On Feb. 25, District Council 37’s Locals 2507 and 3627, which represent Emergency Medical Service workers, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times blasting the Mayor for comments he made justifying a $35,000 pay gap between Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters because their work was “different".
The piece goes on to quote a political science professor who says there is no risk to go after de Blasio for unions because he is a lame duck mayor who will be term limited out in 2021. I fully understand that Samuelson is an Andrew Cuomo ally so it is not unexpected for TWU to criticize the mayor.
What is very difficult to comprehend is why the UFT is so reluctant to be critical of the mayor. Has he been that good to the teachers?
Our raises under de Blasio have been anemic and we are still waiting until 2020 to get back much of the money we worked for from 2009-11 that Mayor Bloomberg denied us. de Blasio could have afforded to pay us that money back in 2014. As for conditions in the schools, they are as bad as or even worse tthan ever for many teachers and students according to everyone I hear from.
Under these conditions, shouldn't the criticisms the UFT has for the mayor be more bold and not so tepid?