Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quest for a Union-Friendly Mayor

It's good to see UFT President Michael Mulgrew talking of mayoral dictatorship. Clearly, with 8 of 13 votes on the PEP, our fake school board, what Bloomberg wants, Bloomberg gets. Of course, this was apparent when mayoral control was established in 2002. At that time, the UFT supported it, perhaps even enabling it. As if that weren't enough, we supported it again in 2009.

Now we're contemplating throwing our support to a Democratic mayoral hopeful. That, in itself, is probably a good idea, but there are serious considerations. Number one, as UFT members showed, there is a lot of distrust for Christine Quinn, the apparent frontrunner. It's tough to forget she not only supported and enabled Mayor4Life's third term, but also grabbed one for herself. How yet another self-serving brazen opportunist mayor will benefit working people in NYC is a huge mystery to me.

Then there is Bill Thompson, who seems to have gained some traction with teachers. He worked closely with the UFT before the last mayoral election. However, after the UFT failed to endorse him against Mayor4Life, he supported Bloomberg's position that all city workers except educators should get raises in the 2008-2010 round of pattern bargaining. This suggests to me that his convictions do not run deep, and that he is easily swayed by circumstance. While I'd prefer him to Quinn, I don't think he merits our support.

That leaves us with John Liu and Bill DeBlasio. I'd love to see Liu get our support. However, the pragmatic nature of UFT leadership, as exemplified by our failure to endorse against Bloombucks in 09, suggests to me that won't happen. Liu is surrounded by scandal, and the Bloomberg-loving tabloids seem to delight in smearing him, though he's yet to be personally implicated in anything whatsoever. DeBlasio has been friendly with the union, and critical of slime like Eva Moskowitz, so he may be a good bet for us.

The UFT is right that this election is important. I also hope to see a time when we aren't waiting out the mayor, as we seem to have been doing for three decades. I only wonder why it's taken us so long to recognize mayoral dictatorship. Though I'm glad Mulgrew's jumped on the bandwagon, many of us recognized this years ago.
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