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United Federation of Teachers backs Bill Thompson for mayor

After a back-to-back series of meetings, the United Federation of Teachers is throwing its weight behind Bill Thompson, the former school board president, in this year’s mayoral election.

Thompson spoke to teachers at a union meeting before meeting the press with UFT President Michael Mulgrew this afternoon at the union’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.

“As mayor, I’m not going to demonize teachers. We’ve had enough of that,” Thompson said, alluding to Mayor Bloomberg’s sometimes harsh comments about teachers. “I’m going to help them teach by giving them the resources they need and bringing them back into the decision-making process of how we run our schools.”

The endorsement caps several months of internal discussions within the union. Mulgrew was looking for a candidate who would advance teachers’ interests, inspire UFT members to get out the vote, and, most importantly, have a clear path to City Hall. The UFT has not picked a winning candidate since 1989, and Mulgrew is hoping that this year will break the bad luck.

“We need to make sure that this entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and we now have the candidate we know will do that,” Mulgrew said. “And we will fight with him and for him — because he is the next mayor of New York City.”