Randi Weingarten


Randi Weingarten

Infobox Person
name = Randi Weingarten


caption =
birth_date = birth date|1957|12|18|mf=y
birth_place = New York City, New York, United States
death_date =
death_place =
other_names =
known_for = President, United Federation of Teachers
occupation = Trade union leader; attorney

Randi Weingarten (born December 18, 1957)"Who's Who in America," 2007.] is a American labor leader, attorney, and educator, and is the current president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO. "New York" magazine called her one of the most influential people in education in New York state."The Influentials: Education," "New York," May 8, 2006.] "Crain's New York Business," an influential business publication, called her one of the 25 most powerful women in New York City business.Traster, "Crain's 100 Most Influential Women in NYC Business - The Power 25: Teachers' Favorite: Randi Weingarten, United Federation of Teachers," "Crain's New York Business," September 30, 2007.]

Early life

Weingarten was born in 1957 in New York City to Gabriel and Edith (Appelbaum) Weingarten. Her father was an electrical engineer and her mother a teacher.Wadler, "Hoping to Continue Education as Union Head," "New York Times," January 20, 1998.] Weingarten, who is of Jewish descent,Chan, "Teachers’ Union Chief Discusses Gay Identity," "New York Times," October 12, 2007.] grew up in Rockland County, New York, and attended Clarkstown High School (now known as Clarkstown High School North).

Weingarten cites two events from her childhood which helped define her lifelong interest in trade unions and political advocacy. The first was when her mother's union went on strike when Weingarten was in the eleventh grade. The strike lasted roughly seven weeks. Under New York state's Taylor Law, her mother could have been fired for exercising her right to strike. Instead, she was fined two days' pay for every day she was on strike. Weingarten's father was out of work at the time, and the family suffered through some extremely difficult financial times. The second incident occurred later that same year. The school board cut $2 million from the budget, which (among other things) would have led to the dismissal of the drivers' education instructor. Weingarten and several other students convinced the school board to let them conduct a survey regarding the impact of the cuts. The survey led several school board members to change their minds, and rescind the cuts.

From 1979 to 1980, Weingarten was a legislative assistant for the Labor Committee of the New York State Senate. She received a Bachelor of Science in labor relations from Cornell University in 1980 and a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law in 1983.

Weingarten then worked as a lawyer for the firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986, where she handled several acrimonious arbitration cases on behalf of the UFT. She was appointed an adjunct instructor at the Cardozo School of Law in 1986.

On October 11, 2007, Weingarten publicly announced she was a lesbian. Weingarten introduced Liz Margolies, 54, a psychotherapist and health care activist, as her partner during the presentation of the Empire State Pride Agenda's 2007 Community Service Award by Christine Quinn. [Schindler, "Randi Weingarten Discusses Her Life as a Lesbian Labor Leader," "Gay City News," October 11, 2007.] Melago, "Teachers Union President Comes Out Publicly As A Lesbian," "New York Daily News," October 13, 2007.]

Union career

In 1986, Weingarten became counsel to Sandra Feldman, then-president of the UFT. Weingarten handled high-level grievances for the union. She was also lead counsel for the union in a number of lawsuits against New York City and the state of New York over school funding and school safety."Teachers Union Leader Is Elected to Full Term," "New York Times," April 7, 1999.] [Barbanel, "For Some Teachers, an Unwanted Lesson," "New York Times," January 29, 1994; Dillon, "Teachers and Tenure: Rights vs. Discipline," "New York Times," June 28, 1994; Sengupta, "Deal to Ease Teacher Duties May Be Costly," "New York Times," May 28, 1997; Steinberg, "Measure to Allow Early Retirement By City Teachers," "New York Times," August 6, 1997.] By the early 1990s, she was the union's primary negotiator in UFT contract negotiations. Her negotiating positions became more aggressive throughout the 1990s. [Greenhouse, "Union Scandal Could Produce A Tougher Negotiating Stance," "New York Times," December 20, 1998; Greenhouse, "After Scandals, New Union Leaders Turn More Aggressive," March 22, 1999.]

From 1991 until 1997, she taught history part-time at Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights.Hartocollis, "Union Leader For Teachers Is Leaving Post," "New York Times," January 8, 1998.]

Weingarten was elected Assistant Secretary of the UFT in 1995. Elected the union's Treasurer in 1997, she succeeded Feldman as President of the UFT a year later when Feldman was elected president of the national American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Weingarten was elected a Vice President of the AFT the same year, and continues to serve on the national union's Executive Council.Herszenhorn, "Teachers' Union President Re-Elected," "New York Times," April 2, 2004.] Greenhouse, "Teachers' Union Chief Re-Elected," "New York Times," April 2, 2007.] ["Randi Weingarten - UFT President," United Federation of Teachers, no date.]

UFT Presidency

Weingarten has won re-election by consistently wide margins since her appointment in 1998. The local union's constitution required her to run for the UFT presidency within a year of her appointment. She received 74 percent of the vote against two opponents in 1999, and served the final two years of Feldman's term. She ran in 2001 for a full term and was re-elected. She won her third full three-year term with more than 88 percent of the vote, despite having two opposition candidates. On March 30, 2007, Weingarten won re-election to a fourth term as UFT President, garnering 87 percent of the vote.

During her tenure as UFT president, Weingarten has pushed for higher salaries and improved training for teachers, often agreeing to longer work days and more tutoring time in order to win better pay. Between 2002 and 2007, salaries for New York City teachers rose 42 percent. [Herszenhorn, "Teachers May Give Ground On Grievances," "New York Times," November 14, 2003; Arenson, "Money Sought for Pilot Project To Improve Teacher Training," "New York Times," February 24, 2001.] Herszenhorn, "City in Tentative Deal With Teachers’ Union," "New York Times," November 7, 2006.] Weingarten has also endorsed merit pay for city teachers, and in 2007 negotiated a controversial contract which paid teachers bonuses if their students' test scores rose.Dillon, "Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers," "New York Times," June 18, 2007; Gootman, "Teachers Agree To Bonus Pay Tied to Scores," "New York Times," October 18, 2007.]

Weingarten is outspoken on issues of education reform and school choice, especially when it concerns the hiring, retention, and evaluation of teachers. [Stossel, "John Stossel's 'Stupid in America'," ABC News, January 13, 2006; Stossel, "The Teachers Unions Are Mad at Me," ABC News, March 8, 2006.] She has not opposed school reform efforts in New York City, although she has challenged them when they threaten the rights and economic benefits of her members. [Goodnough, "Teachers' Chief Is Outsider in Schools Shake-Up," "New York Times," February 1, 2003; Goodnough, "Teachers' Union President Turns Against Schools Plan," "New York Times," May 11, 2003.] She is a vigorous opponent of standardized testing, private school tuition tax credits, and increased funding for charter schools at the expense of public schools. [Herszenhorn, "Klein Says Privatizing Not Planned For Schools," "New York Times," January 12, 2007.] She has attacked vouchers in the strongest terms, arguing they do little to improve education. However, she cautiously supported Mayor Rudy Giuliani's plan to use city funds for a pilot voucher program, once Giuliani agreed not to fund the program out of the city school budget. [Steinberg, "Advocates of School Vouchers Heartened by Ruling," "New York Times," June 13, 1998; Hartocollis, "Officials See Little Chance For Vouchers," "New York Times," April 26, 1999; Hartocollis, "Tentative Deal Would Delay Voucher Plan," "New York Times," June 4, 1999.] She has, however, opposed school privatization. [Goodnough, "Plan to Privatize 5 Schools Brings Confusion on All Sides," "New York Times," December 22, 2000; Wyatt and Goodnough, "As Bid to Privatize Schools Ends, Supporters Second-Guess Effort," "New York Times," March 31, 2001.]

Unlike some education union leaders, Weingarten has not opposed charter schools on principle. Rather, she has argued charter schools are worthwhile experiments in public education so long as worker rights are protected. Weingarten voiced reservations over but did not oppose New York City's charter school program, preferring to negotiate workplace due process protections and better salaries for charter school teachers. Weingarten has also advocated the unionization of charter schools, and attempted to organize some of them in the city. [Gootman, "Firing of 2 Teachers Involved in Labor Organizing Roils a Charter School," "New York Times," June 28, 2006; Barnes, "Pay Issue Snarls City Charter School Talks," "New York Times," April 27, 1999; Gootman, "Lines Are Drawn In Fight to Add Charter Schools," "New York Times," January 9, 2006.] Weingarten's support for charter schools led the UFT to found its own publicly-funded charter school in the summer of 2007. [Herszenhorn, "Let Us Run Charter School, Teachers' Union Head Says," "New York Times," October 30, 2003; Herszenhorn, "School Run By Union? SUNY Board Delays Vote," "New York Times," May 24, 2005; Medina, "Union to Help Charter Firm Start School In the Bronx," "New York Times," June 28, 2007.]

Smaller class sizes have also been a major initiative of the UFT under Weingarten. She attempted to tie smaller class sizes to salaries in each of the three collective bargaining agreements she has negotiated, and linked class size to school repair and rebuilding issues. In 2003, Weingarten and the UFT pushed for a change to the New York City Charter which would force the city to reduce class sizes. The charter revision became caught in lawsuits and was eventually dropped, although Weingarten continued to advocate for smaller class sizes. [Herszenhorn, "Group Wants the City Charter To Set Limits on Class Sizes," "New York Times," August 19, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Classrooms Are Bulging, Teachers Union Says," "New York Times," September 13, 2003; Gootman, "Class-Size Measure Rejected," "New York Times," September 18, 2003; Gootman, "Judge Allows Referendum On Class Size," "New York Times," October 3, 2003; Cooper, "Appeals Court Blocks Vote On Lowering City Class Sizes," "New York Times," October 21, 2003; Saluny, "Teachers' Union Tries to Gain Support for Smaller Class Sizes," "New York Times," May 14, 2006.]

Run-down (even unsafe and hazardous) and unhealthy schools [Sullivan, "Judge Orders City to Inspect Public Schools," "New York Times," April 1, 1998; Sullivan, "City Given Month to List Hazardous Schools," "New York Times," July 29, 1998; Sullivan, "Ambitious Plan Is Offered to Build and Repair Schools," "New York Times," November 19, 1998; Steinberg, "Limits Seen on Ability to Repair Schools," "New York Times," December 12, 1998; "Teachers' Union Contests School-Repair Budget," "New York Times," May 8, 1999; Wyatt, "Report Says School Board Neglected Building Safety," "New York Times," June 22, 2000; Herszenhorn, "Speaker Urges $12.9 Billion For School Building Projects," "New York Times," October 23, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Unions and Lawmakers Attack Use of Private Custodial Services in Schools," "New York Times," February 12, 2004; Gootman, "Never Mind Being Underpaid: Teachers Cite Dirt Underfoot," "New York Times," February 13, 2004.] and violence in the public schools have also drawn Weingarten's attention. [Goodnough, "Assaults Against Teachers Increase in New York City," "New York Times," October 19, 1999; Medina, "Teachers Urge Meeting On Safety," "New York Times," October 25, 2002; Herszenhorn, "Union Cites Growing Violence on Teachers," "New York Times," October 10, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Schools Report Gun Incidents and Assaults," "New York Times," December 11, 2003; Herszenhorn and Gootman, "City's New System Delays Suspensions of Violent Students," "New York Times," December 12, 2003; Herszenhorn, "City Hall and Teacher Unions Unite Against School Violence," "New York Times," December 16, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Group Seeks Quicker Action Against Violence in Schools," "New York Times," December 23, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Mayor Says He'll Increase Security at Dangerous Schools," "New York Times," December 24, 2003; Gootman, "Police to Guard 12 City Schools Cited As Violent," "New York Times," January 6, 2004; Gootman, "Six Students Arrested in City Crackdown on Violent Schools," "New York Times," January 7, 2004; Saluny, "City Adapts a Police Strategy to Violent Schools," "New York Times," October 19, 2004; Gootman, "Undercount of Violence In Schools," "New York City," September 20, 2007; Gootman, "School Crime Up 21 Percent In First Third of Fiscal Year," "New York Times," February 15, 2007.]

Collective bargaining

As of February 2008, Weingarten has negotiated three contracts.

Weingarten began negotiating her first contract as UFT president in 2000. Talks opened with the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani in early September 2000. The discussions focused on obtaining salary parity with suburban districts, but the contract expired on November 15, 2000, without a successor agreement. [Goodnough, "Room for Compromise As Teacher Talks Open," "New York Times," September 7, 2000; Greenhouse, "Teacher Contract Ends," "New York Times," November 16, 2000; Greenhouse, "Teachers' Union Seeks Parity With Salaries in the Suburbs," "New York Times," January 26, 2001.] By March 2001, the talks deadlocked and a state mediator was called in. [Greenhouse, "Teachers Call for Mediation in Salary Talks With City," "New York Times," March 10, 2001; Day, "State Chooses A Mediator For Teacher Negotiations," "New York Times," April 7, 2001.] The UFT suffered a setback when AFSCME District Council 37, which represents city workers outside the school system, settled a contract with a minimal wage increase—putting pressure on Weingarten to settle a similar contract. Weingarten, however, refused to let the AFSCME contract set a pattern for the UFT's bargaining. Talks collapsed on June 5, and Weingarten asked for state arbitration. [Greenhouse, "Biggest City Union in Tentative Pact," "New York Times," April 12, 2001; Goodnough, "Head of Teachers' Union Warns of a Long Wait for a Contract," "New York Times," May 13, 2001; Greenhouse, "Teachers' Union Sets Deadline For Arbitration," "New York Times," May 17, 2001; Greenhouse, "Talks Break Down On Teacher Contract," "New York Times," June 6, 2001; Greenhouse, "Teachers' Union to Seek Contract Arbitration," "New York Times," June 7, 2001.] In an attempt to put political pressure on the Giuliani administration, Weingarten and the UFT endorsed Alan Hevesi in the Democratic primary. Hevesi promised a rich teachers' contract, and the UFT hoped Hevesi's promises would encourage management to settle the contract before the election. But the tactic backfired when only 20 percent of UFT members voted for Hevesi, while 32 percent voted for Mark J. Green and 29 percent for Fernando Ferrer. In the run-off between Green and Ferrer, Weingarten endorsed Ferrer, who ended up losing to Green. Giuliani easily defeated Green in the November 2001 election. [Goodnough, "Backing Ferrer, Union Focuses On Teacher Pay," "New York Times," October 6, 2001.] Giuliani attacked Weingarten for seeking a 22 percent wage increase after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and offered an 8 percent salary boost instead. Despite the war of words, the city agreed to use state money for raises on March 7, 2002. But still the offer was too small for Weingarten, and talks collapsed on March 9. Weingarten began preparing the UFT for its first strike since the early 1970s. [Greenhouse, "Giuliani Reproaches Teachers For Insisting on a 22% Raise," "New York Times," November 28, 2001; Greenhouse, "City to Reopen Contract Talks With Teachers," "New York Times," January 19, 2002; Greenhouse, "City Agrees State Money Can Pay for Teacher Raises," "New York Times," March 7, 2002; Goodnough, "Talk of a Strike, but No Action Yet," "New York Times," March 27, 2002; Goodnough, "Union for New York City Teachers Takes First Step Toward a Strike," "New York Times," May 8, 2002; Goodnough, "City Teachers Union Poll Gauges Public Support for Possible Strike," "New York Times," May 29, 2002.] The state arbitration panel released its report in mid April, advocating a major wage increase as well as a longer work week. Additional state aid was secured about a week later, raising hopes for a contract. A new collective bargaining agreement raising wages 16 to 22 percent and lengthening the work week by 100 minutes was agreed to on June 10, and ratified by the union on June 25. More than 81,000 of the union's 87,000 teacher members voted, approving the agreement by 94 percent. [Greenhouse, "State Panel Calls for Teacher Pay Raise and Longer Day," "New York Times," April 10, 2002; Goodnough, "Agreement on Teachers' Contract Is Imminent, Union Leader Says," "New York Times," April 19, 2002; Goodnough, "Extra State Aid Fails to Speed Teachers' Deal," "New York Times," May 3, 2002; Greenhouse, "Tentative Pact for City Teachers Increases Pay, and Workweek," "New York Times," June 11, 2002; Lueck, "Teachers Approve Contract," "New York Times," June 26, 2002.]

The UFT's contract expired on May 31, 2003, due to the highly retroactive nature of the 2002 agreement. Once again, negotiations proved contentious. Only one negotiating session was held in the six months after the pact's expiration. In January 2004, New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein proposed reducing pay for poor teachers and adopting incentive pay for others. This was followed a month later by a proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to jettison the union's 200-page contract in favor of an 8-page set of guidelines. Weingarten declared these proposals to be significant threats to union members' due process rights and economic benefits, and asserted that the city's bargaining postures were once more driving the parties to impasse. [Herszenhorn, "Teachers' Union Accuses City of Avoiding Talks on Contract," "New York Times," December 2, 2003; Herszenhorn, "Chancellor Urges Changes in Teachers' Pay," "New York Times," January 28, 2004; Herszenhorn, "Mayor's Goal Is 'Thin' Pact With Teachers," "New York Times," February 6, 2004; Herszenhorn, "Teachers' Union Warns of an Impasse in Talks With the City," "New York Times," February 7, 2004.] Weingarten asked for state mediation in late March 2004. Then in May, with talks still moving extremely slowly, Weingarten agreed to explore a merit pay concept with the city. In September, the administration withdrew its proposal for an 8-page contract. Although an agreement seemed close in October, talks collapsed once again. Both sides cited economic issues (including funding for additional pay raises) as a primary reason. But Weingarten said talks had progressed well until Mayor Bloomberg intervened and overruled his aides, and she accused him of purposefully breeding mistrust between the city and union. [Herszenhorn, "Teachers' Union Asks State to Intervene in Talks With City," "New York Times," March 26, 2004; Herszenhorn, "A Proposal for Incentive Pay at City's Low-Performing Schools," "New York Times," May 9, 2004; Herszenhorn, "Teachers' Union Says Contract Bargaining Is Near," "New York Times," September 10, 2004; Herszenhorn, "For Teachers' Union and Mayor, Talks on Contract Near Accord," "New York Times," October 14, 2004; Herszenhorn, "Hope Dims on Deal for Teachers' Pact Tied to Financing," "New York Times," November 14, 2004; Greenhouse, "Deep Distrust Slows Contract Talks With Teachers," "New York Times," December 15, 2004.] With mediation having failed and negotiations at a standstill, Weingarten instituted a public relations campaign featuring subway and television ads demanding a contract. She also began mobilizing the UFT's 87,000 active-duty members for a series of rallies, protests, marches and a possible strike. On June 1, 2005, nearly 20,000 teachers—about a quarter of the UFT membership—packed Madison Square Garden for a rally in which Weingarten denounced Bloomberg and Klein, asked for a strike vote, and requested state arbitration. The public relations campaign seemed to work, and contact talks resumed in earnest in August and September. [Herszenhorn, "In Subway Ads, Teachers Renew Push for Contract," "New York Times," April 18, 2005; Herszenhorn, "Teachers Pack the Garden to Demand a City Contract," "New York Times," June 2, 2005; Herszenhorn, "Mayor Moves Closer to Deal On Teachers," "New York Times," September 27, 2005.] A tentative contract was reached on October 3, 2005, nearly 16 months late. Weingarten won a wage increase of 14.25 percent over 52 months, retroactive to June 1, 2003. In return, she agreed to a slightly longer workday (with the extra time devoted to tutoring) and to eliminate union control over some staffing decisions. The two sides also agreed to establish a new "master teacher" position (with higher pay) to help mentor struggling teachers and improve educational quality in low-performing schools. The long term of the contract moved the expiration date to October 12, 2007, just prior to mid-term city elections. The contract was ratified on November 3, 2005. However, it passed with just 63 percent of UFT members in favor. [Herszenhorn, "City Reaches Tentative Deal With Teachers," "New York Times," October 4, 2005; Herszenhorn, "Teachers Approve Contract Deal," "New York Times," November 4, 2005.]

Weingarten concluded her third collective bargaining agreement barely a year later. On November 6, 2006, the union and city reached a tentative deal to increase pay by 7.1 percent over two years. The city requested negotiations in August, surprising the union, and the talks concluded quickly. The agreement raised base pay for senior teachers above $100,000 a year, bringing city salaries in line with those in New York City's suburbs for the first time. The city did not seek any increases in the work day or work load or any other concessions, as it had with other unions. Negotiations over health benefits were to be conducted separately in talks with the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group for municipal unions which Weingarten chairs. Observers say Bloomberg sought an early contract in order to win the union's support for school funding fights. A 2005 New York state court decision mandated that the state spend at least $4.7 billion more a year in aid to New York City schools. Governor Eliot Spitzer had demanded that the city pay a portion of these costs, but the city has refused—saying it receives proportionally fewer funds already than other school districts while educating far greater numbers of students with significant behavioral, health and educational disadvantages. The new collective bargaining agreement seemed designed to win UFT support for Bloomberg's refusal to ante up additional funds. The pact was easily approved by the UFT's 83,000 teachers and 30,000 other school employee members. In October 2007, Weingarten agreed to and the members approved a sidebar agreement which provides merit pay to teachers if their students' test scores rise.

New union headquarters

In 2003, Weingarten moved the UFT's headquarters to Ground Zero in downtown New York City. The union purchased one building at 50 Broadway for $53.75 million and leased the building next to it, 52 Broadway, for 32 years (with two 20-year renewal options; the union also took a minority ownership in 52 Broadway). Weingarten sold the union's longtime headquarters at 260 Park Avenue South as well as two other union-owned buildings at 48 and 49 East 21st Street for a total of $63.6 million to cover the cost. The purchases did not utilize any union dues. Weingarten justified the move in part by saying that the UFT wanted to give the city a vote of confidence in the wake of the September 11 attacks. But Weingarten also said the move resolved a space problem for the union. UFT gave up convert|310000|sqft|m2 of older space in midtown for convert|740000|sqft|m2 of newly built space downtown. Weingarten also financed a $40 million renovation of 50 and 52 Broadway, joining the buildings at several floors and adding a 1,000-seat auditorium, a convert|20000|sqft|m2|sing=on conference center, and a cafeteria. The renovations would be paid for by rental income from three tenants (the New York State United Teachers, the New York State AFL-CIO, and the UFT Welfare Fund) at 52 Broadway. ["Teachers' Union Plans to Move Downtown," "New York Times," January 10, 2002; Goodnough, "Teachers' Union to Move Downtown, a Shift Mayor Says 'Can't Hurt' Contract," "New York Times," January 11, 2002; Garbarine, "City Teachers' Union Gives a Lesson in Real Estate," "New York Times," September 15, 2002.]

Organizing

The UFT represents all teachers, paraprofessional school employees, and professionals (such as school nurses, school psychologists, and others) in the New York City schools. The UFT has seen some membership growth under Weingarten among these workers, as the union has pushed for additional staffing. [Hu, "Mayor Vetoes School Nurse Bill," "New York Times," November 15, 2004; "More Schools to Have Full-Time Nurses," "New York Times," September 18, 2004.]

However, the UFT has a registered nurse division which represents roughly 2,800 registered nurses at Lutheran Medical Center, Staten Island University Hospital-South, Jewish Home and Hospital Home Health Agency, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. ["Visiting Nurses Vie for Funds," "New York Teacher," January 28, 2004; Callaci, "They’ve Come A Long Way," "New York Teacher," January 20, 2005; Hirsch, "UFT Nurses OK VNS Contract," "New York Teacher," February 17, 2005.] The UFT saw more growth in this division, as the Visiting Nurse Service expanded and the union organized non-RN units at the non-profit company. ["Psychological Growth," "Work In Progress," March 12, 2001; "Making Rounds," "Healthwire," January-February 2001; McGeehan, "For New York, Big Job Growth in Home Care," "New York Times," May 25, 2007.]

Weingarten's largest organizing victory, however, came when the UFT organized child care providers in New York City. The campaign began in 2005, and concluded in 2007. The organizing drive—the largest successful unionization campaign in the city since 1960, when the United Federation of Teachers itself was formed—added 28,000 workers to the union's 113,000 active and 56,000 retired members. [Greenhouse, "Care Providers Need a Union, 3 Groups Say," "New York Times," July 15, 2005; Greenhouse, "Child Care Workers in New York City Vote to Unionize," "New York Times," October 24, 2007.]

AFT President

On February 12, 2008, AFT President Edward J. McElroy announced he would retire at the union's regularly scheduled biennial convention in July. On July 14th, Weingarten was elected to succeed him. Weingarten is now the first openly gay individual to be elected president of a national American labor union.

Political activity and other roles

Although personally progressive, Weingarten and the UFT endorsed George Pataki for re-election as Governor of New York in 2002. [Lueck, "As Expected, New York City Teachers Union Endorses Pataki," "New York Times," October 10, 2002.] Weingarten is very active in city politics as well, and has been described as a "kingmaker" in New York City mayoral politics due to her union leadership position. ["Randi Weingarten Becomes Something of a Kingmaker," "New York Sun," February 1, 2005.]

Weingarten has also served as President and Vice-President of the New York City Central Labor Council (NYC CLC), AFL-CIO, although as of 2007 she is only a member of the board. She leads the CLC's Municipal Labor Committee, a coalition of public-sector unions representing members working for the City of New York. [Greenhouse, "Unions Tell Mayor They'll Want More," "New York Times," April 21, 1999; Greenhouse, "Teamsters Official Is Expected to Succeed Indicted President of Central Labor Council," "New York Times," June 17, 2007.] She has been called the only municipal union leader on par with the powerful union presidents of the 1970s who helped rescue New York City from bankruptcy—Victor Gotbaum, executive director of AFSCME District Council 37; Albert Shanker, president of the UFT; and Barry Feinstein, president of Teamsters Local 237. [Greenhouse, "When Labor Bosses Were Boss," "New York Times," May 18, 2003.]

A lifelong Democrat, Weingarten is a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She was an early and critically important supporter of Howard Dean as Chairman of the DNC. [Nagourney, "Leaders Back Dean to Head Democrats Nationally," "New York Times," February 1, 2005.] She is a superdelegate pledged (as of February 21, 2008) to Hillary Clinton. [Gallagher, "Some NY Super Delegates Still Undecided," "Poughkeepsie Journal," February 21, 2008; Nagourney and Hossain, "Old Clinton Ties and Voters’ Sway Tug at Delegates," "New York Times," February 17, 2008.]

Weingarten is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Albert Shanker Institute.

Notes

References

*"AFT President Resigns." "Associated Press." February 12, 2008.
*Arenson, Karen W. "Money Sought for Pilot Project To Improve Teacher Training." "New York Times." February 24, 2001.
*Barbanel, Josh. "For Some Teachers, an Unwanted Lesson." "New York Times." January 29, 1994.
*Barnes, Julian E. "Pay Issue Snarls City Charter School Talks." "New York Times." April 27, 1999.
* [http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/around/longway/ Callaci, Dorothy. "They've Come A Long Way." "New York Teacher." January 20, 2005.]
* [http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/teachers-union-chief-discusses-gay-identity/ Chan, Sewell. "Teachers’ Union Chief Discusses Gay Identity." "New York Times." October 12, 2007.]
*Cooper, Michael. "Appeals Court Blocks Vote On Lowering City Class Sizes." "New York Times." October 21, 2003.
*Day, Sherri. "State Chooses A Mediator For Teacher Negotiations." "New York Times." April 7, 2001.
*Dillon, Sam. "Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers." "New York Times." June 18, 2007.
*Dillon, Sam. "Teachers and Tenure: Rights vs. Discipline." "New York Times." June 28, 1994.
* [http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2008/02/13/2008-02-13_randi_weingarten_eyes_president_of_natio.html Einhorn, Erin. "Randi Weingarten Eyes President of National Teachers Union Position." "New York Daily News." February 13, 2008.]
*Gallagher, Jay. "Some NY Super Delegates Still Undecided." "Poughkeepsie Journal." February 21, 2008.
*Garbarine, Rachelle. "City Teachers' Union Gives a Lesson in Real Estate." "New York Times." September 15, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Agreement on Teachers' Contract Is Imminent, Union Leader Says." "New York Times." April 19, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Assaults Against Teachers Increase in New York City." "New York Times." October 19, 1999.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Backing Ferrer, Union Focuses On Teacher Pay." "New York Times." October 6, 2001.
*Goodnough, Abby. "City Teachers Union Poll Gauges Public Support for Possible Strike." "New York Times." May 29, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Extra State Aid Fails to Speed Teachers' Deal." "New York Times." May 3, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Head of Teachers' Union Warns of a Long Wait for a Contract." "New York Times." May 13, 2001.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Plan to Privatize 5 Schools Brings Confusion on All Sides." "New York Times." December 22, 2000.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Room for Compromise As Teacher Talks Open." "New York Times." September 7, 2000.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Talk of a Strike, but No Action Yet." "New York Times." March 27, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Teachers' Chief Is Outsider in Schools Shake-Up." "New York Times." February 1, 2003.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Teachers' Union President Turns Against Schools Plan." "New York Times." May 11, 2003.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Teachers' Union to Move Downtown, a Shift Mayor Says 'Can't Hurt' Contract." "New York Times." January 11, 2002.
*Goodnough, Abby. "Union for New York City Teachers Takes First Step Toward a Strike." "New York Times." May 8, 2002.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Class-Size Measure Rejected." "New York Times." September 18, 2003.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Firing of 2 Teachers Involved in Labor Organizing Roils a Charter School." "New York Times." June 28, 2006.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Judge Allows Referendum On Class Size." "New York Times." October 3, 2003.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Lines Are Drawn In Fight to Add Charter Schools." "New York Times." January 9, 2006.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Never Mind Being Underpaid: Teachers Cite Dirt Underfoot." "New York Times." February 13, 2004.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Police to Guard 12 City Schools Cited As Violent." "New York Times." January 6, 2004.
*Gootman, Elissa. "School Crime Up 21 Percent In First Third of Fiscal Year." "New York Times." February 15, 2007.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Six Students Arrested in City Crackdown on Violent Schools." "New York Times." January 7, 2004.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Teachers Agree To Bonus Pay Tied to Scores." "New York Times." October 18, 2007.
*Gootman, Elissa. "Undercount of Violence In Schools." "New York City." September 20, 2007.
*Greenhouse, Steven. "After Scandals, New Union Leaders Turn More Aggressive." March 22, 1999.
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*Greenhouse, Steven. "Care Providers Need a Union, 3 Groups Say." "New York Times." July 15, 2005.
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*Greenhouse, Steven. "City Agrees State Money Can Pay for Teacher Raises." "New York Times." March 7, 2002.
*Greenhouse, Steven. "City to Reopen Contract Talks With Teachers." "New York Times." January 19, 2002.
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*Greenhouse, Steven. "Giuliani Reproaches Teachers For Insisting on a 22% Raise." "New York Times." November 28, 2001.
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* [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/education/13teachers.html Greenhouse, Steven. "Teachers’ Union President to Step Down; New Yorker Is Seen as Successor." "New York Times." February 13, 2008.]
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*Greenhouse, Steven. "Tentative Pact for City Teachers Increases Pay, and Workweek." "New York Times." June 11, 2002.
*Greenhouse, Steven. "Union Scandal Could Produce A Tougher Negotiating Stance." "New York Times." December 20, 1998.
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*Herszenhorn, David M. "Group Wants the City Charter To Set Limits on Class Sizes." "New York Times." August 19, 2003.
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*Herszenhorn, David M. "School Run By Union? SUNY Board Delays Vote." "New York Times." May 24, 2005.
*Herszenhorn, David M. "Schools Report Gun Incidents And Assaults." "New York Times." December 11, 2003.
*Herszenhorn, David M. "Speaker Urges $12.9 Billion For School Building Projects." "New York Times." October 23, 2003.
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