NYC Teachers’ Union Endorses Thompson For Mayor

Posted on 20 June 2013 by Community Voice NY

Published on: June 19th, 2013 at 09:35 PM
By: AP


New York – New York City’s massive teachers’ union backed former City Comptroller William Thompson for mayor Wednesday, giving a sizeable campaign boost to a onetime school board chief who made an unexpectedly strong showing in the last mayoral race.


Delivering Thompson a highly sought-after endorsement among New York Democrats, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said New Yorkers “need to make sure that this entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and now we have the candidate that we know will do that.”


The union represents 200,000 teachers and school workers, including retirees, and has considerable resources to run ads and field volunteers to make thousands of voter calls. The city’s major unions have divided their support among various Democrats this year, and the UFT is the most high-profile organized labor group to throw its weight behind Thompson so far.


“When I’m mayor, I’m going to fight day and night to help the teachers of the city of New York because you’re critical to the future of New York,” Thompson said to dozens of cheering teachers at the union headquarters, noting that his late mother taught in city public schools for 30 years.


The endorsement marks the UFT’s first foray into a mayoral race in more than a decade, and it comes after years of acrimony between the union and current Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The union and mayor have fought over teacher evaluations, contracts, school closings and other issues — ill will underscored when Bloomberg referred to the union’s endorsement Monday as “almost a kiss of death.”


“If I received a kiss from the UFT today, I’m feeling pretty warm and fuzzy,” Thompson quipped Wednesday, pledging to restore trust between the union and City Hall.


Despite the rocky relationship, the UFT didn’t endorse anyone against the billionaire incumbent in 2005 or 2009, when Thompson surprised the political establishment by coming within five percentage points of unseating him. Outspent more than 10-to-1, Thompson had been expected to lose in a blowout.


Overhauling the city’s school system has been a cornerstone of Bloomberg’s mayoralty, starting when he won mayoral control of schools from the state Legislature and disbanded the Board of Education in 2002. Thompson had stepped down as chairman the previous year to run for comptroller, a post he held until 2009. He’s since been an executive with a bank that underwrites loans for public works.


Like fellow Democratic contenders, Thompson has criticized such policies as shuttering struggling schools and replacing them with new schools, and says Bloomberg’s administration is too focused on standardized tests.


Teachers “are shackled to test prep,” Thompson said in a speech last month, suggesting the city create grants for schools that take innovative approaches.


Bloomberg sees testing as the most objective way to measure students’ progress and hold teachers accountable for it, and he views the school closings as freeing students from failing schools.


Thompson also has called for expanding prekindergarten programs, lengthening the school day and year, and crafting a teacher evaluation system that incorporates parent feedback and professional observation along with scores.


New York City has the nation’s biggest public school system, with 1.1 million pupils and a $24 billion annual budget.


Thompson’s Democratic rivals in the Sept. 10 primary include former City Councilman Sal Albanese, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the Rev. Erick Salgado and former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Republican contenders include billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joe Lhota and George McDonald, who heads a nonprofit group that helps the homeless.


Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. is running as the Independence Party candidate.

You can view this article online at

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here
February 2019
« Apr