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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Post
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Hard ‘labor’ as unions whack Weiner

Big Labor is going after Anthony Weiner.

An education coalition co-founded by the city’s powerful unions helped organize a rally yesterday to protest Weiner’s get-tough policy on school suspensions.

It was mostly a small group of high-school students [including a group of youth members from Make the Road New York] who showed up outside the former congressman’s residence in Gramercy Park to take issue with Weiner’s proposal to speed up suspension hearings to get unruly kids out of the classroom.

But political insiders said they saw union fingerprints behind the event. The membership of one of the organizers — the coalition New Yorkers for Great Public Schools — includes the Working Families Party, the United Federation of Teachers, SEIU Local 1199 and such other labor-financed groups as the Alliance for Quality Education and New York Communities for Change.

One insider with ties to labor said it was an attempt by supporters of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio to try to bully Weiner — who resigned from Congress in a sexting scandal two years ago — from joining the race.

“This is to help de Blasio. Weiner takes votes from de Blasio if he enters the race,” the source said.

A de Blasio campaign spokesman insisted the current city public advocate had nothing to do with the event.

De Blasio is considered close to the Working Families Party, which he helped found.

Weiner proposes to “streamline the process for removing troublesome students from the classroom” because it now can “take months” to do so.

About 15 students delivered a copy of a letter to Weiner’s doorman and chanted, “Weiner, Weiner, Weiner! Can’t you see? Streamlined suspensions will only hurt me!”

Zakiyah Ansari, 46, of New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, said. “We have a potential mayoral candidate in Anthony Weiner, and his No. 1 priority is streamlining our students out of the classroom.”

Weiner, who many expect to jump into the mayoral race, defended the proposal.

“Nobody benefits when unruly kids disrupt the classroom. We need a quick and fair process that protects teachers and all students,” he said.

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