New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday drew a backlash over a remark he made on his radio show.
The mayor lumped the United Federation of Teachers – the teachers’ union in New York City – with the National Rifle Association as he listed groups controlled by a vocal minority.
“There’s a small group in the union. That’s typical of an organization like that,” Bloomberg said. “It’s typical of Congress, it’s typical of unions, it’s typical of companies, I guess, where a small group really is carrying the ball and the others aren’t necessarily in agreement,” Bloomberg said. “The NRA’s another place where the membership if you do the polling the membership doesn’t agree with the leadership.”
In response, more than 60 local leaders signed a letter released Sunday, which said, “Such an offensive comparison not only vilifies New York City teachers, but also mocks the work they do.”
The letter goes on to say the remarks “show astonishingly poor judgment, and are unworthy of you, your position and your record.”
The signatures on the letter included Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Comptroller John Liu.
The United Federation of Teachers also issued a statement castigating Bloomberg.
“In the wake of the Newtown (Conn.) tragedy, the mayor’s comparison this morning of teachers to the National Rifle Association is completely inappropriate, and a demonstration of how difficult he can be to deal with on any issue – much less one as complex as a new teacher evaluation system,” union president Michael Mulgrew said in the statement.
The union noted that Bloomberg’s statement came shortly after a TV ad by the union urging Bloomberg to come to an agreement on teacher evaluations. The ad accused Bloomberg of “going after” teachers instead of supporting them.
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