Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, August 18, 2014

Remember, Union Leaders Did Their "Endorsement" Work During Working Families Party Convention

I keep hearing some NYSUT people brag how NYSUT refused to endorse Andrew Cuomo for governor and am hearing from the same people that NYSUT is making sure the AFL-CIO does not endorse him either.

All of this is fine, dandy and absolutely meaningless.

I want to remind everybody that when it mattered, when Andrew Cuomo absolutely needed the union leadership - including the newly minted NYSUT leadership - to back him, they did.

That was during the weekend when it looked like Working Families Party might actually endorse Zephyr Teachout over Cuomo for the general election.

Polls had shown that Cuomo was running away with the race against his GOP opponent Rob Astorino - unless a third party candidate from the left entered the general election.

Then polls showed this:

Major elections in the United States are almost always two-party affairs. Yes, third-party candidates run, but they’re rarely competitive, and they almost never win. Still, there are exceptions, and the 2014 New York governor’s race may be one of them.

The progressive Working Families Party perceives Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be too centrist, and it will decide this weekend whether to field its own candidate instead of cross-endorsing Cuomo. (New York allows candidates to appear on multiple ballot lines.) An opponent from his left could put Cuomo’s re-election bid in at least some danger.

An average of early polls by Quinnipiac University and Siena College shows the governor garnering 38 percent support, Republican Rob Astorino 24 percent and an unnamed Working Families Party candidate 23 percent. That’s down from Cuomo’s average lead of about 30 percentage points over Astorino in a two-way affair.

As I detailed earlier this week, early gubernatorial polling of two-way matchups is pretty reliable — 30 percentage point leads are nearly impossible to overcome. But an early-stage 14 percentage point lead in a three-way contest may be a different story.

Cuomo was desperate to avoid that third party candidate from the left and his union allies were happy to oblige by threatening WFP activists that if the party nominated Zephyr Teachout over Andrew Cuomo, they would defund the party:

When Working Families Party state committee members gather at their convention tomorrow, far more than the endorsement for governor will be at stake.
The very future of the labor-backed party will be on the line, and according to one labor source, the damage done by the disagreement over whether or not to back Gov. Andrew Cuomo again may very well be irreparable.
“Regardless of what happens now, the way the party has conducted itself has done lasting damage to relationships with key (union) affiliates,” the source said. “It’s unclear if the party will ever be the same.”
Union leaders were burning up the phone lines this morning, discussing whether the time had finally come to pull their support of the party they helped create and have financially sustained since 1998.
According to another labor source involved in these talks, a number of the largest and most significant unions – including 1199 SEIU, HTC, the laborers, RWDSU, and the UFT – were prepared to call it quits with the WFP, knowing that their withdrawal could very well lead to the party’s “collapse.”
The Teamsters and TWU were also involved in these discussions, which were far enough along to warrant talk of drafting of a joint statement, although one was never actually released.

The UFT controls NYSUT - it was the UFT leadership, backed by Randi Weingarten, who instituted the Spring Time Putsch that dethroned the previous NYSUT leadership and replaced them with pro-Cuomo shills.

The Spring Time Putsch was all about making sure that the suddenly aggressive old NYSUT leadership would be replaced by a more compliant Cuomo-friendly leadership - which is exactly what happened.

That the UFT was part of the union leadership that threatened WFP if Teachout was endorsed and was behind the NYSUT putsch to get rid of the old regime that had turned on Cuomo tells you all you need to know about how much they've already helped Andrew Cuomo.

An endorsement by the UFT, the NYSUT or the AFL-CIO is not needed at this time because all the help Cuomo needed to win re-election - keeping a third party candidate from the left out of the general election race - was engineered by the unions, including the UFT and the NYSUT, last spring.


  1. Spot on. Not only that but by issuing no endorsement Cuomo is the only candidate who benefits. He doesn't need their endorsement with the lead he has. An endorsement for Teachout would provide her with much needed publicity, not to mention an influx of VOTE COPE money from NYSUT and the UFT. It had the capacity to damage Cuomo mightily. Now, however, Cuomo will keep his safe lead and cruise to another victory. NYSUT leadership can claim they were somehow fighting the good fight by not endorsing him. Meanwhile ensuring the no endorsement did him a favor and was the best possible outcome he likely could have asked for.

    Now there is a lot of talk on Twitter about how the Revive NYSUT crew "kept their promise" by not endorsing Cuomo. Meanwhile what their campaign literature actually said was that they were "Against Cuomo." If they were really against him they would have used their financial resources against him.

    The one question now is what NYSUT leadership got in exchange for the work that they did for Cuomo. Because they certainly got something. It assuredly wasn't something that benefits the rank and file because they would be touting that endlessly if they had. What they got instead was something that likely only benefits them. Exactly what that is remains to be seen.

  2. Also there is part from the Daily News article about the lack of endorsement:

    "The state AFL-CIO is not ruling out endorsing Cuomo down the road.

    But "an endorsement motion won't come up unless both NYSUT and CSEA agree" to bring it up for consideration "some time in the future," said the insider."

    In other words, down the road, without those pesky angry delegates, they can issue an endorsement if they choose.

  3. Great piece. Remember Norm Scott's words, Watch what our leaders do, not what they say.