Cuomo Primary Foe Picks Up Public Union Support

ALBANY (AP) -

New York state’s second-largest public-sector union endorsed Zephyr Teachout’s long-shot bid to oust Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday, while the state’s powerful teachers’ union announced it will sit out this year’s governor’s race.

The Public Employees Federation represents 54,000 state workers who mainly work in white-collar positions. Union President Susan Kent said the union was taking a “bold step” by backing Teachout and her running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu.

“They are the leadership this state needs, that public workers need,” Kent said.

The New York State United Teachers opted to withhold an endorsement in the race after a spirited debate by members.

Teachout, a liberal law professor at Fordham University, has threatened to upend Cuomo’s hope to win a second term by huge margins and highlighted the discomfort some liberals have with the governor, who has backed liberal social causes but also business-friendly tax policies and charter schools.

The Public Employees Federation — which endorsed Cuomo in 2010 — has had a contentious relationship with the governor since a difficult contract negotiation in 2011.