April 25, 2013
A drop in voter turnout and a stronger showing by an opposition group did not keep United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew from cruising to a second full term as union president today.
Mulgrew was reelected with 84 percent of the vote over Julie Cavanagh, a candidate from an opposition group within the union. According to the union, he received 34,919 votes out of 41,681 that the American Arbitration Association counted today, with about 3 percent of ballots remaining to be tallied.
In 2010, Mulgrew won his first full term by an even larger margin: 91 percent.
“I’m honored that thousands of UFT members have supported my reelection,” Mulgrew said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them for the next three years as we continue to fight for the best for our students, their families, and our schools.”
UFT spokesman Peter Kadushin said the union was still waiting to receive the final vote tally, which will be released Friday. But unofficial reports shared by members of the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators, Cavanagh’s group, suggest that the opposition caucus had a strong showing among high school teachers, historically the most radical within the union.
“We don’t feel like we have a right to be arrogant, given the numbers,” Norm Scott, a longtime union activist and founding MORE member, said while making a toast at a party in Midtown after the ballot count ended. “But we do feel like we have a reason to be optimistic.”
Cavanagh said the diminished voter turnout was reason enough to continue to press for changes within the union.
“It’s really important to me that members are active and engaged,” she said. “The voter turnout shows that members are disillusioned and disenfranchised. … That’s something that has to change.”