Petition to consider Dianne Morales and democratic endorsement process

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Dear UFT leadership,

We are writing to petition you to endorse Dianne Morales for mayor of New York City. It is a widely held belief among members of the UFT that Dianne Morales is the best candidate currently running for NYC Mayor. Not only does Dianne’s experience as an educator qualify her for the role as head of the NYC DOE, but she has also developed and overseen programs addressing housing insecurity, mental illness, and foster care. Dianne Morales has developed clear policies that will benefit all New Yorkers, not just the wealthy and white. And as an Afro-Boricua woman raising two children in NYC, Dianne has the life experience to bring real, lasting change to this great city. Take one look at her platform and you’ll see why she’s the candidate with the highest number of teacher donors in this city.

The UFT’s endorsement process has been anything but democratic. Firstly, members had to be present for Town Halls otherwise they were not able to vote, and even then the voting results were hidden from us. Why the secrecy? Secondly, during the pandemic when teachers are already overwhelmed - why weren’t all UFT members given the chance to vote on the candidates based on their own research? In fact, most members are in the dark as to how to get on political action committees within their districts, and how the candidate endorsement decisions are even made.

The Mayoral ‘final four’ Town Hall was particularly egregious. Invited candidates included Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer, and Andrew Yang, a conservative anti-union candidate, but Dianne Morales, the only candidate to call for defunding the police by 3 billion dollars in her first 100 days, was left out. Then, in the follow up vote for attendees, there was no way to vote for someone beyond the final four in attendance, and no way to voice dissent.  You’ve left nearly the entire membership of the UFT out of the process as a result.

Our union is only as strong as its members’ understanding of and advocacy for our working conditions and student learning conditions on the ground, every day in our school buildings. We have been disrespected by the Mayor and the Chancellor throughout this pandemic. We expect more from our union leadership. We expect a fair and transparent process in which we all can participate.

At the very least, bring Dianne Morales’ candidacy to a floor vote at the special Delegate Assembly to endorse a mayoral candidate. 

We hope this and future endorsement process includes a transparent (public results) survey of rank and file membership, since, as you said at the April Delegate Assembly, President Mulgrew, “we are the union.”