UFT Endorsements are Imminent – Let’s Make Informed Votes

It’s Spring Break, and UFT members are in the midst of well-deserved vacations. But, it’s also endorsement season for NYC City Council and certain judicial seats. In fact, UFT leadership voted in two big lists of endorsements at the last executive board meeting, so we should expect a vote at the Delegate Assembly as soon as next Wednesday, April 19th. With that in mind, it’s imperative that all delegates and chapter leaders carefully read this list before that DA, so that you and your chapters can make an informed decision before voting whether or not to endorse.

Now, as of today, New Action has not made any endorsements of our own. Nor, to my knowledge, has any other caucus in United for Change. However, I do have some preliminary observations.

  • This is a big list. There are a lot of names on here that UFT members may agree with, and others with which they may not. UFT delegates have taken issue with big lists like this in the past. In fact, at the DA endorsement vote of April, 2021, Tom McDonough argued that we should vote on each candidate individually, which led to a major ‘no-vote’ on endorsements, albeit one which was overturned the next month.
  • This is not a ‘bipartisan’ list (in any sense of the term, though I mean it in the ‘caucuses’ sense). No one in the UFC-elected High School Executive Board was included in the endorsement process. In fact, I was a part of the endorsement committees back when I was a Unity member, but was dropped after becoming a member of New Action. Not surprisingly, my recollection of being on those committees was that they were heavily dominated by Unity Caucus, with maybe an independent or two, but certainly no major opposition figures. The endorsement lists you are seeing today are most definitely ‘Unity’ lists.
  • Unsurprisingly, many of the candidates on this list are of the ‘centrist’ variety. In fact, several of the names here are council members who left the Progressive Caucus back in February. More liberal council members are missing from the list, so if we make the endorsement as written, we should expect centrist rather than progressive results.
  • I don’t see any names here who actively sided with retirees to fight against Mulgrew’s 12-126 amendment, such as Gale Brewer and Tiffany Caban. You do see Carmen De La Rosa, who introduced that monstrously anti-labor piece of legislation. Ironically, De La Rosa is technically still a member of the Progressive Caucus.
  • There are names on this list who voted for budget cuts to the DOE this school year. There have always been debates as to whether there should/shouldn’t be conditions to endorsements. In this case, it’s certainly worth asking why we would send our COPE money to individuals willing to take money from our students and schools.

So, make sure to do your research on the current endorsement proposals before you vote at an upcoming DA. And if you disagree with anyone being on or omitted from the list, make sure to come prepared with arguments. That vote may be as early as next Wednesday.

Updates: See here for an update on what happened with this round of endorsements at the April, 2023 DA. Note that, a few weeks after publication, the author of this article was invited to a new round of UFT endorsement hearings for the City Council district in which his school is located.

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