UFT president Weingarten to step down

June 24, 2009 1:07:50 PM PDT
United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is announcing Wednesday that she will step down from her role as the union's president effective July 31.She is making the move in order to devote full time to her role as the president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers.

Weingarten has been serving as president of both the UFT and the AFT since July of 2008.

She was elected UFT President in 1998 after coming to the union full-time in February of 1986.

"Randi Weingarten has been a tireless advocate for public education in New York," Governor David Paterson said. "She is an innovative leader, a no-nonsense reformer, a tough negotiator and someone I am proud to call my friend."

Weingarten was the fourth president of the UFT in its 49-year history, following Charles Cogan (1960 to 1964), Albert Shanker (1964 to 1986) and Sandra Feldman (1986 to 1998).

Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University and the Cardozo School of Law. As a teacher of history at Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, from 1991 to 1997, she helped her students win several state and national awards. Randi is a vice president of the national AFL-CIO, and served 10 years as head of the city's Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization for some 365,000 city employees in 100 city employee unions.

She also served as a vice-president of the New York City Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, chairperson of the Health Insurance Plan (HIP) of Greater New York and as a board member of the N.Y.C. Independent Budget Office.

The union's executive board will meet in the coming weeks to nominate and vote on candidates to fill the vacancy. The person elected by the executive board will serve out the remainder of Weingarten's term, which ends in the spring of 2010, at which time the union is scheduled to hold an election for its entire slate of officers.

The United Federation of Teachers represents more than 200,000 active and retired members, including teachers, classroom paraprofessionals, school secretaries, attendance teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, education evaluators, nurses, laboratory technicians, adult education teachers and home child-care providers. The UFT also runs more than 300 teacher centers around the five boroughs as well as two charter schools.