The United Federation of Teachers, which claims more than 200,000 members, is calling for the passage of marriage equality legislation before the legislative session ends in the next few weeks.
UFT joins other labor organizations that support the marriage equality bill, including 32BJ, Communications Workers of America District 1, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Teamsters Local 237, Affiliates of the New York City Central Labor Council, and 1199 SEIU. SEIU hosts phone banking efforts four nights per week at its headquarters in midtown Manhattan, where volunteers call the constituents of lawmakers who are pivotal to the campaign.
"Our union prides itself on a diverse membership, and as a champion of equality we believe that it is time for all New Yorkers to be treated equally," said Michael Mulgrew, president of United Federation of Teachers, in a news release on Tuesday from New Yorkers United for Marriage, the coalition working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the bill. "This is a civil rights issue, and we are calling on New York State's Legislature to pass marriage equality legislation and give all New Yorkers the right to marry the person they love."
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, previously led UFT, and in that post she came out publicly during a speech an Empire State Pride Agenda Dinner in 2007.
Also on Tuesday, the Empire State Pride Agenda, a member of the bipartisan New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition, joined with labor unions in Albany including New York State United Teachers to call on lawmakers to pass the bill. The legislative session is scheduled to end on June 20.
According to a survey from Gannett's Albany bureau over the weekend, eight undecided state senators -- five Republicans and three Democrats -- could decide the fate of the marriage equality bill. The measure, which has passed the assembly three times, failed in the senate in 2009 by a vote of 38 to 24, with no Republicans in favor.