While the Fordham law professor lost her Democratic primary challenge earlier in the month to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Zephyr Teachout on Monday vowed to publicly support members of the Public Employees Federation as they move into upcoming contract talks.
"I will stand with you to get that dignified contract," Teachout told PEF delegates. Members of the 53,000-member white-collar state workers union are gathered this week for their convention in Niagara Falls.
She also took a shot at Cuomo, according to a PEF member who was there and who took notes. "Andrew Cuomo is not invincible anymore," Teachout said, referring to the spirited but ultimately unsuccessful primary challenge.
Teachout's talk, in which she also ripped what she termed privatization moves by the governor, sparked wide speculation among union activists that she might take some sort of hands-on role in the looming contract battle.
Among the possibilities mentioned were that Teachout was mulling a tour or series of events to highlight the importance of New York's public sector workers.
Phone calls and emails to Teachout weren't returned on Tuesday, nor were messages with what had been her primary-race campaign staff.
PEF spokeswoman Jane Briggs confirmed in an e-mail that Teachout offered "moral support'' to the union during a speech on Monday.
You can bet Cuomo will look to retaliate against PEF in contract talks for backing Teachout during the primary.
I hope she does support those PEF members who supported her during the primary.
We'll see if that happens.
People in politics- even Fordham professors who take on entrenched interests in primaries - say all kinds of things that they ultimately never follow through on.