AFT’s Weingarten promises a million bucks for Karen Lewis’ run for Mayor.




The head of the American Federation of Teachers says the national union is ready to spend $1 million to help Karen Lewis unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel if the Chicago Teachers Union president decides to run.

“I did say privately to Karen and at our executive council meeting that if Karen was to run, we would be all in,” AFT leader Randi Weingarten told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview Tuesday. “In a race like this, spending $1 million would not be unprecedented for the AFT.”

Weingarten said Emanuel “has shown a deep disrespect for what public education is all about.”

She compared the Chicago mayoral race to the recent election in New York City, in which organized labor helped Bill de Blasio capture the mayor’s office. In New York, Chicago and many other cities, Democrats have split sharply over education issues including teacher tenure, pensions and privately run, publicly funded charter schools.

“Look, Rahm is a particular kind of Democrat, but there are lots of Democrats who want to invest in public schools,” Weingarten said. “To run now takes a great amount of money, and too many Democrats are focused on what rich donors are saying, not what the working people are saying. I would have never called Rahm a friend of working people, not even 20 years ago.”

6 thoughts on “AFT’s Weingarten promises a million bucks for Karen Lewis’ run for Mayor.

    1. When did this suddenly concern you? When the money goes to Karen Lewis to defeat Rahm? The fact is that all union political donations are from political action funds. You don’t have to give a dime if you don’t want to.

  1. So why did Weingarten appear with Emmanuel at the CGI America 2012 conference in Chicago. Weingarten had flown into Chicago on June 7, 2012, not to support the members of the Chicago Teachers Union who were on that very day voting by 98% to authorize their September strike, but to participate on a panel with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    In the video ( ) of the panel Rahm Emanuel can be seen giving the example of 10,000 people applying for 75 water department jobs. He praised the unions for work rule and pay scale changes “that saved us a lot of money” and made the 75 jobs possible. Randi Weingarten concluded the panel saying, “People want to work. When labor and business work together to put people into jobs it creates great hope around the country.”

  2. Mayor now, maybe Govenor next??? It is about time some of our so called Democratic leaders get put on notice when they forget who put them in office!

  3. Hospital workers, who NY Mayor DeBlasio supported during their many fights against hospital closings, supported the new NY mayor during the 2013 primary. The United University Professors, I think, also supported him in the primary. The NY UFT supported W. Thompson. Four years earlier, the UFT remained neutral when the Democrat Thompson ran against the billionaire mayor (who used legal, but not moral, means to over ride term limits to gain a third term).

    The UFT did endorse DeBlasio when he won the primary, but by then it was clear, most voters wanted a big change in Gracie Mansion.

    All that said, it is good to see the AFT taking a early, and some might say, courageous stand in supporting the non-incumbent in a primary. And pledging a million dollars! Good!

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