In an open letter to The Post, the spitting-mad boss of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association ripped his teachers-union counterpart Saturday for the “disgraceful” decision to co-sponsor the Rev. Al Sharpton’s anti-police rally next week.
PBA President Pat Lynch fired both barrels at United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, saying, “It is absolutely ridiculous that [Mulgrew] . . . would waste his members’ dues to get involved with a march that has nothing to do with teachers or his union.
“Mulgrew knows that the UFT is under siege from all sides, and this is purely an attempt to distract attention from that mounting criticism,” Lynch wrote, referring to the union’s chronic battles over teacher tenure and charter schools as well as the “substandard” contract Mulgrew recently negotiated for his membership.
“How would he like it if police officers lined up with the activists who oppose his efforts to shield bad teachers and undermine effective charter schools?” Lynch fumed.
In a series of personal jabs, Lynch suggested Mulgrew was more concerned with “continuing to curry favor with politicians and Al Sharpton” than in helping his 200,000 union members or the city’s 1.1 million schoolchildren.
The Queens-born Lynch, 51, in a phone interview that followed his literary fusillade, said he was blindsided by Staten Islander Mulgrew, 49.
“We’ve never had a problem,” said Lynch, who represents 50,000 cops. “We’re amazed that he would chime in on an issue like this.
“We typically boost each other up. I’m dumbfounded why Mike Mulgrew would do and say the things that he has,” Lynch told The Post. “It’s disgraceful.”
Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino said he was “not surprised” by Mulgrew’s co-sponsorship.
“Teachers union leadership marched alongside Sharpton, with the Bloods and Crypts, during the Bell case,” Palladino said. “I imagine most educators would be embarrassed by Mulgrew’s actions.”
The UFT declined to comment.
I'm going to leave aside the efficacy of joining Rev Al "Rent-A-Collar" Sharpton's march - Michael Fiorillo dispensed with that pretty well in a comment he left on a post by Arwen at NYC Educator's site on this move by the UFT to back Sharpton - and focus on the open animosity coming from other union heads aimed at Mulgrew.
According to the Post piece, the kind of dispute that's going on between Lynch, Palladino, et al. and Mulgrew would normally be taken care of behind the scenes:
Labor insiders were shocked by the escalating battle between the two political heavyweights who head two of the city’s most powerful unions.
“It’s just not right,” said Bill Pelletier, former VP for the Transit Workers Union. “For the leaders to get involved with this is out of character.”
He said such disputes are usually resolved privately at the Central Labor Council.
That this dispute made it out into the open, with Lynch hammering both Mulgrew and teachers (essentially framing Mulgrew's job as "protecting bad teachers" and "keeping bad schools opened") shows you how pissed off the cop unions are at Mulgrew and the UFT leadership and is just the latest piece of bad press Mulgrew has gotten this summer.
Earlier in the month, the Daily News publicized Mulgrew's violent speech at the AFT Convention in which he threatened to "punch in the face" and "kick in the dirt" anybody who took away Common Core from him.
I followed that up with a post re-examining the two other scandals Mulgrew has faced in recent years - the conflict of interest that saw his sister's tutoring company make millions of dollars from NYCDOE contracts even as she was still on leave as an NYCDOE teacher and the allegations that surfaced in a lawsuit that he had sex with a co-worker in a classroom when he was a teacher.
In the comments section of that post, Michael Fiorillo and I had the following discussion:
Endorsing an oily bottom-feeder like Klein is just part of Unity’s workaday world. NYC teachers who’ve been around for a while probably have not-so-fond memories of the UFT leadership giving its annual John Dewey Award to Republican governor George Pataki, and then stabbing Democratic gubernatorial candidate and long-time UFT ally Carl McCall in the back some years ago. It’s typical behavior on their part.
After all, this is an organization that continues to endorse Mayoral control of the schools (except when the Mayor tries to rein in charter schools, in which case they silently stand by and allow him to be knee-capped by Cuomo/Moskowitz), did nothing to keep Bloomberg from buying an illegal third term and then gave him a de facto endorsement in 2009, takes pay-offs, er, investments, from Gates and Broad, supports Common Core and the testing regime that motivates it, as well as test-based teacher evaluations. The hostile takeover of public education would have never, ever, had the “success” it found if Weingrew had not accepted its premises.
Unity often appears invincible, given their choke-hold on power and the frequent cleverness with which they manipulate it, but everything runs it’s course, and these people have been enjoying their one-party state, and the double pensions that accompany it, for more than half a century. Unity Caucus is literally the last of the great political machines.
However, Unity Caucus is trapped in a dilemma: it fattens off the apathy and demoralization of it’s grossly manipulated membership, yet that very same apathy and demoralization inevitably lead to the weakening of the union, which ultimately endangers their hold on power.
The stronger they appear, the weaker they in fact are.
Michael Mulgrew can threaten to punch us all in the face – everyone, that is, except Andrew Cuomo, whom he kneels before – but he is now widely seen as a joke and embarrassment, and it’s hard to maintain monolithic power when your ostensible leader is a literal punch line.
Like the Communist Party in East Germany, which it ironically resembles in its inner “Democratic Centralist” workings, Unity will continue to be invincible, until it isn’t.
As Michael noted in the comment on the Mulgrew speech post, Mulgrew's buffoonery, the skeletons in his closet, the contempt elected politicians (and now other union leaders) have for him, the bullying of the members - these are starting to add up.
Now with the police unions actively taking aim at Mulgrew and savaging him in the papers, you have to wonder just how much more it takes before Mulgrew is given his walking papers.
These union leaders need calm and quiet to do their sell-out job without the rank-and-file noticing what they're doing.
Clearly nothing Michael Mulgrew does is calm and quiet.