NYC’s Largest Teacher Union Endorses Stringer for Mayor

New York City’s largest teacher’s union said on Monday that it would back Scott Stringer for mayor, handing the city’s chief financial officer an influential endorsement ahead of the competitive June 22 Democratic primary.

The United Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 100,000 school employees, has been at the center of contentious negotiations over school re-openings after the pandemic shuttered the largest public school system in the U.S. The union has also been vocal over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to overhaul the city’s gifted and talented program and the appointment of new schools chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.

At a briefing with reporters on Monday, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said its endorsement comes along with a volunteer force of thousands, phone banking, and “using the union’s resources” to help get Stringer elected.

“We have to have someone with a proven record of getting things done,” Mulgrew said.

In a later interview, Mulgrew said the endorsement came after Stringer alone demonstrated several plans to reduce class sizes and increase technical education as well as teacher recruitment with internships. “Other candidates may have had one idea thought through,” he said. “Scott had several plans and ways on how to get them done.”

Stringer, for his part, after the briefing called the endorsement, “just about the most consequential endorsement you could receive in a citywide campaign.”

He said the union spent four months vetting more than 40 mayoral candidates, a dozen of whom were questioned during town halls with 12,000 members. On Monday, 90% of its delegate assembly, its representative body, voted for Stringer.

Stringer, 60 years old, previously served as Manhattan Borough President and a state Assemblyman representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He attended the city’s public schools and has two children in the system. As mayor, he’s pledged to triple the number of infants and toddlers in city-funded childcare, institute universal free after-school programming, and put two teachers in every elementary school class. He also backs making community colleges tuition-free.

The city needs to “make sure the issues you have championed are the issues the next mayor must be aligned with,” Stringer said Monday of the UFT. He said the UFT’s blessing has helped him win previous elections.

”There’s some history here: When I get endorsed by the UFT, I win every single time,” Stringer said. “Teachers vote, teachers work, they know what’s at stake.”

Although Stringer has held public office for decades, he has not been high-ranked by potential voters in early polls. A March 24 poll by Fontas Advisors and Core Decision Analytics found only 5% of respondents ranked Stringer as their first choice for mayor, compared to 16% by frontrunner and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and 10% for Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams.

Stringer ranked third in a separate poll from NY1 released Monday, garnering support from 11% of likely Democratic voters, compared to 22% for Yang and 13% for Adams.

“You can talk everyday about this poll and that poll,” Stringer said. “I’ve been known to close strong.”

If endorsements determined the election Stringer would be far ahead with a slew of them from elected officials, labor unions and civic associations. At least 10 other unions and labor organizations have backed him, including the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals and other administrators. The Working Families Party also has endorsed him.

“We’re not going to have a government by Twitter,” Stringer said, taking a veiled shot at rival mayoral hopeful Yang. “We’re going to have a government that’s ready to form by day one.”

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