The UFT is one union. However, it has different caucuses when it comes to representing educators and here is my overview of each of the UFT caucuses and what, I feel they stand for or in some cases against the member interests.
In power since the beginning of the union and the leadership has become increasingly disconnected from the rank and file. Under Unity teachers have been subject to "givebacks" and now making ATRs "second class citizens". Democracy ends at the lowest level with only Chapter Leaders elected by the members. All other positions are appointed by the leadership who demand a loyalty oath. Lately, the union has put politics above the interests of the members by not supporting Teachout against Cuomo and co-sponsoring a derisive Al Sharpton lead march against fellow union members. It seems that the leadership's social justice interests trump the rank and file needs.
The opposition caucus that once held real promise but is ideologically split between the moderates and the Socialists. Lately, the Socialists have seemed to have taken the upper hand in this caucus and their social justice plank seems to trump all other issues, including member rights. The MORE caucus has moved to the far left and has alienated many anti-Unity moderates which makes their days as the primary opposition group questionable.
They claim to be the voice of reason in the UFT but their deals with Unity, like getting two executive board seats in exchange to supporting the Unity caucus candidate for President, is unsettling to me. Moreover, they tend to follow the Unity position when the leadership tells them to. They to put too much emphasis on social justice and also unwisely supported the Al Sharpton anti-police march.
The new kid on the block and claims it will be narrowly focused on educator issues and be more a trade unionist caucus. I have joined the Solidarity caucus and hope they attract all like-minded educators who believe that the classroom environment and teacher respect is the most important consideration in teacher satisfaction and student academic achievement. Time will tell if this caucus will become the primary opposition group or die a slow and painful death like many others have over the decades. Maybe if ICE splits with MORE and combines with Solidarity, a real trade unionist caucus will be created and become the face of the UFT in the future.
Educators 4 Excellence:
A fringe group who operates outside the UFT caucus system. This group is simply a front for anti-union corporate elites and is a fifth column. E4E had a chance to run in the last UFT elections but failed to do so in fear that they would have been exposed as a cult with few real members. Most of the E4E leaders were untenured teachers who quickly left the classroom and took the money that deep-pocketed corporate reformers gave them to advance their anti-union agenda.
Here was my interview with an ex-E4E member.