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UFT to teachers: Don't invest pension funds with New Mountain

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 5/11/2012, 12:29 p.m.

State and city teachers unions will be cutting off any potential business with New Mountain Capital (NMC) and Wall Street financier Steven Klinsky.

The Representative Assembly of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) passed a resolution last week while the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) recommended that the city's Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) suspend any new investments with NMC or Klinsky, whom they referred to as "union busting." Klinsky's Victory Education Partners operates charters schools in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Klinsky is also the founder and CEO of NMC.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the decision is based on principle and that he doesn't want to do business with the same people who he feels are hurting his constituents.

"The pension and retirement funds of New York State educators, public employees and unionists should avoid investing in private equity funds, such as New Mountain Capital or other private equity funds, that maximize profits by denying the most fundamental rights of workers," said Mulgrew. "In particular, we will ask the TRS to avoid any further investment with Steven Klinsky, manager of New Mountain Capital and founder of Victory Education Partners, a charter school operator that has run union-busting campaigns in three New York City charter schools."

The New York City TRS currently has close to $38 million invested with NMC. The UFT represents teachers at three Victory charter schools in New York City.

As recently as 2010, the UFT cited Victory management at the New York State Public Employment Relations Board for firing educators for engaging in union activity, coercing employees to withdraw union support and discriminating against employees who supported unions.

The UFT and NYSUT both plan on urging others to follow their lead.

Both groups plan on asking public and private sector unions, including the National Educational Association and the American Federation of Teachers, to avoid investing pension and retirement funds with any group operated by Klinsky.