Jonathan Tasini

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Jonathan Tasini
NLN Jonathan Tasini.jpg
Jonathan Tasini speaking at a 2009 campaign fundraiser on Staten Island.
Personal details
Born Jonathan Yoav Tasini
1956 (age 57–58)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Tel Aviv University
University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer
Religion Jewish

Jonathan Yoav Tasini (born 1956) is a strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, primarily focusing his energies on the topics of work, labor and the economy. On June 11, 2009, he announced that he would challenge New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for the 2010 U.S. Senate special election in New York.[1] However, Tasini later decided to run instead for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010.

He was the president of the National Writers Union from 1990 to 2003. In 2006, he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primary.

He is currently president of the Economic Future Group, a national consulting group in the United States. He also writes frequently for a labor and economy blog Working Life.


Tasini was born in Houston, though he would spend much of his late childhood in Israel. Tasini's late father, Betsalel Tasini, was a computer scientist who was born in Palestine and fought in the Haganah, Israel's pre-state army, and its strike force, the Palmach. Tasini lived with his father and stepmother in Israel for 7 years and speaks fluent Hebrew. He completed high school in Israel and continued his studies there at Tel Aviv University. While there, he was also involved in the powerful labor movement in Israel, Histadrut. He also holds a degree in political sciences from UCLA.[2]

Career at National Writers Union[edit]

From 1990 to April 2003, he served as president of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981). During Tasini's tenure as NWU president, it was discovered that the union's health insurance provider, Employers Mutual Insurance, was a fraudulent operation and had been wrongfully denying claims.

Members were divided over Tasini's leadership during the insurance crisis, with some accusing him of failing to notice the concerns of members and act quickly. Others pointed out that he appointed a committee to address concerns after the fraud was discovered; ultimately the panel released two opposing reports.

Tasini remains the president emeritus of the NWU, which has suffered a decline in membership in recent years. The candidate he supported to replace him as president was defeated.

Tasini was the lead plaintiff in the case of New York Times Co. v. Tasini, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in June 2001) in favor of the copyright claims of writers whose work was republished in electronic databases without their permission. He is also the president and executive director of the Creators Federation.

Campaign for U.S. Senate 2006[edit]

On December 6, 2005, Tasini officially announced his bid to challenge Senator Clinton for the Democratic nomination in the New York 2006 Senate election.[3] Tasini, who needed to collect 15,000 valid signatures to force a primary with Clinton, submitted approximately 40,000 of them on July 13.

Tasini was endorsed by a number of prominent political activists, including Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Howard Zinn.[4] On September 7, 2006, The Gay City News endorsed Tasini's Senate candidacy, citing his support for same-sex marriage, and Clinton's stated opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage.[5] In his campaign, Tasini emphasized his opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and called for universal health care and curbs on corporate power as part of what he termed "New Rules For the Economy". He wrote a book called It's Not Raining, We're Getting Peed On: The Scam of the Deficit Crisis in 2010, voicing his opinions about the current debt crises.

Clinton for the most part ignored Tasini's candidacy, refusing to debate him or acknowledge his presence in the race. She won the primary easily with 83% percent of the vote to Tasini's 17%. Afterward, she decided not to have a victory party, which analysts interpreted as a sign of "how she portrayed her opposition as not worthy of serious attention".[6][7]

Campaign for the 15th District Congressional seat in 2010[edit]

On May 13, 2010 Tasini announced that he would now be running for Congress, hoping to win the seat held by Charles Rangel, who has been a representative of the 15th district for 17 years. According to a press release announcing his candidacy, Tasini stated that he plans to "remain entirely energized about our mission to change the country".[8] Tasini is being heavily endorsed by prominent actors and political activists, such as Richard Dreyfuss and Armand Assante.

On September 14, 2010, Tasini finished fifth in the Democratic primary garnering 2,389 votes, or 5% of the total vote.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Progressive Senator for New York
  2. ^ Jalon, Allan M. (2006-08-31). "An (Israeli-American) Voice in the Wilderness | World". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ Mulcahy, Conrad (December 6, 2005). "Labor Advocate to Oppose Clinton". The New York Times. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Kornblut, Anne E. (September 13, 2006). "At the Finish Line in New York, Clinton Forgoes a Victory Dance". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^
  9. ^ "New York Primary Results". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]