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Teacher Union Endorses Malloy

by Christine Stuart | Jun 13, 2014 1:17pm
(22) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Election 2014

CTNJ file photo

2012 teacher rally at the state Capitol against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform package

Connecticut’s second-largest teacher’s union announced Friday that it would be throwing its support behind Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

AFT-CT, which represents teachers, nurses, state employees, higher education faculty and nurses, voted Thursday to support the incumbent who infuriated them back in 2012 when he said “Basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” Stephen McKeever, AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president said. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”

McKeever was referring to comments made in June 2013 by Republican Tom Foley. Foley told the Courant “I keep talking about ‘when is the Wisconsin moment going to come to Connecticut.” He explained in a radio interview this week that he was referring to the Republican takeover of once-liberal Wisconsin and not about making Connecticut a right-to-work state.

“I think it would be a wrong move for someone to try and change the collective bargaining agreements we have in Connecticut,” Foley said. “I don’t think it would be successful if somebody tried it.”

Sen. John McKinney, who is also vying for the Republican nomination, said he was shocked at the news an executive committee would support Malloy after what he’s done to education.

“This decision was clearly made by a small executive committee of union leaders, not rank and file teachers,” McKinney said. “This endorsement doesn’t take away their civic right to vote the way they want to at the polls.”

Jonathan Pelto, who announced a third-party bid for governor this week, had accelerated the time he had given himself to decide whether he was running in order to try and receive a union endorsement. Pelto, a public schools and pro-union candidate, was upset he didn’t get an opportunity to interview for the AFT-CT endorsement and didn’t want to be left out of the Working Families Party event on June 21.

Much of Pelto’s criticisms of Malloy have focused on the first-term Democrat’s handling of education policy. He said he was disappointed he would not have a chance to have a discussion with the group’s rank-and-file teachers about Malloy’s policies, which he considers to be “anti-teacher.”

Pelto may also be left off the agenda at the AFL-CIO’s 10th biennial statewide convention next week. Foley, state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, who is vying for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, Malloy and Wyman are all on the agenda.

The AFL-CIO’s member unions will gather at the Omni Hotel in New Haven Monday and Tuesday to vote on endorsements for state constitutional offices, state house and state senate seats, and the five U.S. House races.

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(22) Comments

posted by: justsayin | June 13, 2014  4:17pm

Of course they did, self-preservation is their only goal. Why not a Wisconsin moment, maybe a shake-up will get this state moving? For the kids….

posted by: Linda12 | June 13, 2014  4:42pm

They don’t have the rank and file so their endorsement is meaningless.  It will NOT bring in the votes.  We don’t follow the union leadership. They deserted us a long time ago. Once Dan packs it in, Melodie will soon follow.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 13, 2014  6:27pm

the teachers’ union represents a legitimate group, but for some reason there are lots of “conservatives” who think that bashing teachers is a winning strategy.  it’s not.

Clearly unions represent their members—that’s their purpose in life.  And just as clearly, some union positions are self-serving.  That’s what happens with any pressure group, whether they’re teachers or banks or whatever.

our job as voters is to balance the issues and chart a middle course, hopefully without demonizing those whose interests are more narrowly defined

posted by: Common Sense | June 13, 2014  6:43pm

More payola to Malloy (No Joy) reelection that taxpayer’s pay for.

posted by: shinningstars122 | June 13, 2014  7:35pm

shinningstars122

@justsayin yeah lets just elect a Koch brother drone.

Wait you’ll have your chance his name is Tom Foley.

posted by: Fisherman | June 13, 2014  7:49pm

A teacher’s union supports Malloy. Wow. Who were they going to support; Foley?

posted by: state_employee | June 14, 2014  9:01am

The union leaders may be supporting him, but the rank and file will not.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | June 14, 2014  9:29am

DrHunterSThompson

What does that really mean, endorsed? It’s just words right? Not votes, not $$, just words, right?

Words between the lines of age.

I’m thinking it’s votes these candidates should be pursuing, not hollow words.

HST

posted by: BMS | June 14, 2014  9:38am

Did Sharon Palmer, Commissioner of the Labor Department, a Malloy appointee, and former President of Connecticut AFT influence the decision?

posted by: Linda12 | June 14, 2014  11:42am

To state employee

BINGO! 

AFT is as meaningless as their endorsement.  The money men who backed the CA tenure suit are gearing up for CT next and Dannel opened hunting season three years ago.  Go after the unionized teachers..that’s a winning slogan.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 14, 2014  12:18pm

HST—traditionally a union endorsement means both votes and money, as well as volunteers.  the union movement gains strength through solidarity, with members acting collectively to offset the money and power advantage of owners/managers.

It was never likely that a teachers union would endorse Foley, but the major question this year is whether the rank and file will work for Malloy, work for Pelto, or sit on their hands. the last two options favor Foley.

posted by: bob8/57 | June 14, 2014  1:55pm

bob8/57

Four more years! Watch as people come together behind Malloy to oppose the fear mongering, neo-facist Republicans and their minions.

posted by: Commuter | June 14, 2014  3:13pm

Pelto’s “campaign strategy,” for lack of a better term, was based on peeling the unions away from Malloy, believing that if the unions would back him, Pelto had a chance to get to the approximately 35% of the vote he believed constituted a winning margin.

There was a whole lot of wishful thinking that went into that.

The reality is turning out to be that, while there are always dissenters, the unions understand that loyalty and being true to your commitments matter in politics.

And the truth is that Malloy has delivered on the promises he made about what he would do, and how he would go about dealing with them across the table.

While there is a vocal group of people who appear incapable of behaving like something other than whining, spoiled children, most everyone paying attention recognizes that Malloy - without giving away the store - is one of the most progressive governors in this country. The list of deliveries on progressives’ priorities is long (I’m not going to run through it here).

Malloy’s strategic approach to the mission of rebuilding a strong middle class in this state - which includes not giving away the store - is what underlies his strength amongst the progressives that control the leadership - and dominate the ranks - of the unions.

People who have devoted their careers to this mission, truly believe in it, and are charged professionally with advancing it, are inevitably following through on their side of the bargain.

And the proof of the wisdom of Malloy’s approach to governance is in the political pudding: Foley has now caved, conceding Malloy’s point and endorsing his approach.

posted by: BillM | June 14, 2014  5:00pm

As a teacher-member of AFT-CT, I am deeply appalled that Melodie Peters, our union president, has endorsed Malloy. She has thereby earned my everlasting contempt and disgust. However, we should remember that AFT-CT has long-since stopped representing teachers; it is a health care workers’ union first and foremost. I once asked her to help teachers statewide organize to resist the wave of corporate education reform, to which she became very angry and quit accepting emails and phone calls. Yet, she was on the picket line with the nurses of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital last summer, helping to fight for their rights. Peters simply uses teachers as bargaining chips with Malloy to better help nurses.

The manner by which this endorsement came about is equally troubling. It is customary for the unions to wait until each candidate has announced their bid for running. Once Peters heard that Pelto was on the verge of announcing, she pushed the endorsement vote to prevent the political action committee from voting to endorse Pelto, whom she knew is the members’ favorite. That left the choice between Malloy and Foley. According to my friends who were present, Peters then sold them on the argument that no matter Malloy’s record with teachers, Foley would be worse. Her tactics to prevent Pelto from receiving the endorsement well illustrate the sleaziness of her general character.’

I will therefore look into sponsoring a membership-wide vote of no confidence against Melodie Peters. She is no friend of teachers!

posted by: Linda12 | June 14, 2014  9:40pm

Commuter are you working for Danny now?

No one else would be so adoring here in CT.

What a crock.

posted by: art vandelay | June 15, 2014  6:19am

art vandelay

Hypocrites.

posted by: RJEastHartford | June 15, 2014  9:49am

@Commuter, I agree with most of your analysis. Especially dealing across the table, which all municipal/state/teachers should weigh going forward.
Yes, Foley is conceding, in fact, on a some points wether it is education, pensions, (although “grandfathering” everyone and having new hires with 401K’s will destroy the pension fund) collective bargaining etc. <b>But<b> this is before the election. The Republican will be the Bigger liar come January.

posted by: Joebigjoe | June 15, 2014  2:01pm

Unless a union has an online vote and agrees as part of their vote that they want to endorse someone then its all about lies, spin and media attention.

Some people think that we shouldnt mention the names of mass shooters in the media and I am thinking that without an internal vote of members which can be done on the internet very inexpensiveley that reporting these group or union endorsements is just not newsworthy because its propoganda.

posted by: OutBackJack312 | June 15, 2014  9:19pm

Malloy is a joke, Foley is an insult…  Middle Class Americans are finished…  One day we will all realize that most of us are in same boat and we will vote out rich democrats and Republicans who care nothing about us..  And only care about fattening their wallets.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 15, 2014  11:39pm

Joe—an online vote could easily be taken, but that’s not how the endorsement system works.  the procedure was created long before online anything, so typically elected union leaders meet in a caucus, possibly interview the candidates, and then make a decision. 

I’m not saying your suggestion wouldn’t be more democratic (note the small “d”) , but other than ratifying contracts I’m not aware of unions that take full votes of the membership.

Commuter—agree with your analysis of Pelto’s “strategy”, but there’s no reason to think that Foley will get less than 40%, so 35% isn’t going to win anything.

Let’s say that Pelto gets the vote of every public school teacher in the state, all 43,800 of them http://teaching.about.com/od/ProfilesInEducation/a/Connecticut-Education.htm.  that’s a little less than 4% of the 1.1 million cast in 2010.  That still leaves another 341,000 just to get to 35%.

Pelto, if he runs, will be a spoiler.  He’ll never sit behind the desk on the Capitol’s second floor unless he’s a guest of Tom Foley.

posted by: Commuter | June 17, 2014  5:56am

@ RJEastHartford - yeah, Foley will say anything. Nobody should misinterpret anything he says as a change of heart.

@ LongJohn47 - note that I said Pelto *believed* he could get to 35%. Just to clarify, his whole “strategy” was nothing more than wishful thinking (as in delusional). Agreed that he can do nothing except weaken Malloy if he runs.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 17, 2014  7:42am

Commuter—it’s not clear how much Pelto can actually hurt Malloy if he runs.  Clearly he’ll pick up some number of disenchanted teachers (we’ve seen some here, and there are certainly a lot more out there), but the real question is whether they would vote for Foley if Pelto doesn’t run, or simply sit on their hands.

Unless Foley comes out against charter schools and testing, which is highly unlikely, I don’t think the Pelto folks have anywhere to go.  So Pelto can embarrass Malloy, but not hurt him, because these votes are lost in any event.