Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, July 22, 2013

DFER's Mock Mulgrew

DFER propaganda-meister Joe Williams mocks UFT President Michael Mulgrew and the UFT leadership in an opinion piece in the Daily Pravda of teacher-bashing, the Daily News.

Williams says because the UFT-endorsed candidate Bill Thompson has shown no overall movement in the polls since the UFT endorsed him, the UFT is no longer a kingmaker in city politics, unions in general are splintered shells of their former selves and politicians can safely ignore them and give hedge fund groups like the DFER's the policies they want.

Williams writes that even if Thompson does go on to win the nomination, it will be due to his political skill ad handiwork and not the UFT endorsement.

Some things to say here:

First, the words "Bill Thompson" and "political handiwork" do not belong in the same sentence.  Thompson ran one of the worst campaigns in modern history in 2009.  He didn't even know he was 5 points away from Bloomberg because he was too cheap to pay for internal polling.  Many in the city were dying to send Bloomberg and his illegal third term desires back to Bermuda and had Thompson run a decent campaign, that just might have happened.  He didn't and he lost.

Second, had the UFT endorsed Thompson in 2009, it is quite possible that their phone banking and GOTV efforts could have brought Thomspon the support he needed to win or, at the very least, given him the money to do some internal polling and actually find out how close he was to winning.  But they didn't endorse him, didn't work against Bloomberg and instead sat on their hands while Bloomberg barely won his third (illegal) term.  Some of the hostility we in the opposition feel for Mulgrew and the UFT leadership stems from that "sit on their hands" strategy from 2009.

Third, the DFER's should not be so sure that a couple of polls in the middle of the summer for a September primary are proof positive that the UFT endorsement means nothing.  Just as most of the electorate isn't paying much attention yet, many UFT members and their families aren't paying attention either.  Plus, as Thompson has said more than once, the only poll that matters is the one on primary day.  If Thompson gets 11% of the vote in September, than yeah, the UFT endorsement is useless.  But we're not at that juncture yet, and nobody should totally write off the UFT endorsement just yet.

Fourth, while I have written that Mulgrew is a fool to say the UFT rank and file will vote the way he wants them to vote just because he wants them to vote that way in a day and age when few active members vote in UFT elections, Joe Williams and the DFER's should not mistake the true significance behind that disconnect.  Many of us in the UFT rank and file despise the UFT leadership because they cave to much to the DFER/hedge fund/Bloomberg/Gates/Obama agenda, not because they don't cave enough to it.  Another way of saying this is, there are those of us in the UFT who think "If Mulgrew wants it, it must be bad" who have applied that same thinking to the Thompson endorsement.  But do not be surprised if some of that contingent comes around to Thompson by September, as NYC Educator has.

Fifth, Williams is plain wrong when he says the public sees the union as an impediment to improving schools.  In poll after poll, the public gives much higher marks on trust to unionized teachers than they do the mayor.

Sixth, the Educators for Excellence are a phony astroturf group funded by the DFERs and other corporate criminals.  They have very few members and are not a true representative of opposition to the UFT leadership.  Were they a true opposition group, they could have run in the UFT elections and shown how powerful they truly are.  But there are a few dozen members at best and while the DFER's and the DOE and Gotham Charter Schools like to make believe like the E4E's are some powerful opposition group, most teachers in NYC schools have never heard of these clowns and do not support them or their union-busting agenda.

Seventh, it is true that the unions have splintered their support in the primary, diluting their power. But no candidate is going to get 40% of the vote and there will be a runoff.  Union support is going to matter then, and you can bet the candidates know that.  That's why candidates like Weiner and Quinn, both of whom did not get the UFT endorsement for the primary, have made overtures to the UFT leadership for a runoff endorsement.

Williams and the DFER's are trying to marginalize unions, union workers and unionized teachers with this piece of propaganda.

They want politicians to see the hedge fund criminal class as the kingmakers in city politics, not the unions.

But there are still a lot of unionized workers out there and while it is true the unions are split for this primary, you an bet they will come together in November to back the Democratic nominee against Joe Lhota.

And then Williams and his hedge fund criminal friends will see just how much the union GOTV efforts will matter - including the UFT's.


  1. This is a fabulous analysis. While I agree with most everything in it, I just wanted to make two small random points: 1. If the unions are split (and they so are) it should probably be understood that the needs/agendas/wants between the MUs are slightly different. I don't think that's a sign of union weakness so much as it is a sign of strong democracy. That Williams (et. Al) spin about it being weaknesses is just bunk. 2. I'm sorry to say that I don't think the UFT endorsement will help Thompson at all. I don't see it as being a full endorsement so much as it being an endorsement of 17% of the teachers (the amount who cared to vote in the last union election) as well as some much needed money. As, I think you pointed out a few months ago, that's not an endorsement from a powerful union. That's an endorsement from less than a fifth of a powerful union.

    If the uft gave a crap about having political clout during times like these, they'd do whatever they could to reenergize us and bring rank and file members into the fold. Unfortunately, they can't see the relationship between not trusting their own members (ala 1975) and not having the actual muscle to make in their chosen candidate. Meanwhile, smart people are beginning to draw lines between today and a possible desertification vote. I haven't met anyone who says that the plan to "make a winner" is going very well.

    1. That's a great point about different unions having different needs/agenda/wants. Also a great point about the UFT endorsement being an endorsement of the 17% who cared to vote in the last election. This union leadership does everything it can to energize its own crony base and turn everybody else off. Whatever they can do to maintain power and privilege, rank and file membership be damned.