New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has said his choice of Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy as his running mate sends a tough message to labor unions since he has a reputation for hard-nosed negotiating.
"He was not a pushover," Cuomo said. "Yes, he tangled with public employee unions. Guess what? We are going to be tangling with public employee unions going forward."
Cuomo has pledged to consolidate and realign some 11,000 different entities in state and local government. The campaign promise may put pressure on public employee unions, which have long been a Democratic power base.
There's no word from Cuomo yet as to whether he'll seek support from the Working Families Party (WFP), which is often alligned with labor. The WFP holds its state convention next month in Buffalo.
Rochester's local teachers union has protested Mayor Duffy's stance on taking control of Rochester's schools away from local school boards. But Mayor Duffy says such control is needed to improve schools.
"The lack of performance in our school system is unacceptable," Duffy said Wednesday after A.G. Cuomo introduced him as his candidate for lieutenant governor. "The issues that I see in Rochester were 70 per cent of every crime was committed by a high school dropout. The graduation in our city schools have been substandard for decades."
Mayor Duffy plans to stay in office as Rochester's mayor until the end of the gubernatorial campaign.