UFT Solidarity asks Mulgrew & Lee to Debate Portelos. No Response.


UFT Presidential Debate

[UPDATE: Save the Date. March 18th 5PM to 7PM
PS 64 Manhattan Auditorium

There was no response from the other parties so UFT Solidarity will hold a town hall forum instead of a debate.

Join us for a discussion on issues and solving them in order to build a stronger union and improve our careers.]

For those who are not aware, our United Federation of Teachers union is not all that united. There are actually four caucuses or groups of members within a larger group that share common beliefs. They are UFT Solidarity, New Action, the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) and Unity. Unity is the caucus currently in charge. Michael Mulgrew, and everyone in union leadership, including borough and district representatives are members of Unity.

Democracy is very important to us at UFT Solidarity. So much so that we have a Union Democracy committee in place and have been in constant communication with the Association of Union Democracy (uniondemocracy.org). We need a more democratic union and although our opponents at New Action/MORE claim to want the same, they fail to engage in any real talks or even debate. Competition is healthy, but we agree with many out there who believe we would be stronger together.

In the summer of 2015, when it became apparent that these two groups opposing Unity were not going to work with us, we requested a primary. An agreed upon polling method where opposition supporters can cast a vote and the winner will be backed by the other groups. Should UFT Solidarity have lost, we would pool our resources and back the winning candidate. MORE did not respond and New Action declined stating they were not interested.

Recently, the following request for a debate was sent to both the New Action/MORE and Unity camps.

Dear MORE, New Action, and Unity,

With the election just around the bend, the time is right for a debate! A public debate with one representative from each caucus would stimulate interest in the upcoming elections. It could be held at a public school and moderated by an agreed upon UFT officer. There is already a lively debate ongoing in internet forums and comment boards. A live debate would be a more dignified and substantive forum to uphold our pledge to democratic unionism.

Please let us know if your caucus would be interested in participating in a debate, and if you have any ideas in the shape that it takes.

Quinn Zannoni
UFT Solidarity
Union Democracy Chair

Over ten days later and we have received no response from any group. UFT Solidarity is still planning to hold a debate even if there are two empty podiums. We owe it to the membership to be able to ask any and all questions of our candidate. We are currently looking to take out a permit at a centralized Manhattan school. We hope the other sides change their mind.

The lack of response from Mulgrew and Unity is to be expected, as they have never engaged in a presidential debate. MORE not responding is however only partially surprising, as they made some noise in 2013 when Mulgrew did not debate then presidential candidate Julie Cavanaugh. (See here: http://morecaucusnyc.org/2013/03/23/president-mulgrew-come-defend-your-record/)

We say “partially surprising,” because as you can see below, UFT Solidarity has made many attempts to collaborate with MORE. Each and every time there was a very disappointing and ostrich-like “you do not exist.” For over a year UFT Solidarity made countless attempts to create a bridge with the other opposition groups.


Members believed MORE was focused only on social justice issues. The original plan was to create an alternative caucus that focused on the member centered unionism that MORE critics stated they were ignoring. We were planning to run parallel and have members in both caucuses if they wished. However, MORE was quick to call UFT Solidarity a “rival” caucus and claim they are “an enemy.” They forbid their members from co-membership even though their bylaws do not prohibit such a status.

September 27, 2014 email in response to their statement “the communication that was sent out on Sunday , which explained that we do not agree that co-membership in what are clearly rival caucuses should be encouraged.”

To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

    Did you vote that there is no co-membership allowed for MORE  members?


UFT Solidarity is the strongest advocate for the many discontinued educators that are pushed out of the DOE and UFT. We held rallies, speeches at PEP meetings and other online initiatives including support groups. At no point did MORE collaborate or respond to any of our requests to assist.

Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Subject: Discontinued Probationary Teachers to Meet with UFT Leadership Nov. 3rd – Don’t Tread on Educators
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Please share with respective groups.  Thank you.



When we went after abusive administrators, again MORE lay silent. From Namita Dwarka at William Bryant HS to Neil Ganesh at Richmond Hill HS.

To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Join these parents, students and educators as they rally to bring awareness to management issues at William Bryant HS.



Date: Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 5:12 PM
Subject: Is MORE up for a meeting?
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Are you up for a meeting? Solidarity is meeting with several other groups, both in and out of union politics. 


In terms of helping teachers falsely charged with termination, again MORE caucus remained silent.

Subject: Retiree Group
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>


We created a non caucus specific email list for retirees interested in supporting teachers who are in hearings. Active members cannot make it.

Have the retirees or non active members email a blank email to: retireduft+subscribe@googlegroups.com


When it comes to organizing and defending the many ATRs, MORE has remained relatively quiet. With the exception of a resolution raised and defeated at the UFT Delegate Assembly, MORE has taken no part in helping the ATR Alliance form. No blog posts, Facebook posting or tweets about any of their ATR events.

Date: Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 10:54 AM
Subject: Please blog about ATR Alliance meeting
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Can you share flyer and info on your blogs? The more that are aware, the better.


When UFT Solidarity tried to support and organize Bronx educators, MORE did not participate or advertise.

Date: Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Bronx Educators Workshop February 26
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Please share this educator workshop geared towards Bronx teachers.

February 26th



Finally, a month before we launched our campaign for the UFT elections, and months after being ignored by MORE, we sent this email:

Date: Thu, May 28, 2015 at 11:15 AM
Subject: No Talks?
To: MORE Steering Email <steering@morecaucusnyc.org>

Good morning,

    Just to be clear, you are indeed ignoring all attempts to work together, correct? I mean by not responding to our emails, and requests for joint initiatives, we should take that as MORE does not want to work with UFT Solidarity. Please correct us if we are wrong. Also, feel free to come to our meeting tomorrow at the 5C Cultural Center. http://www.uftsolidarity.org/uft-solidarity-general-meeting-29th/

In Solidarity,


The tens of thousands of disenfranchised, and misrepresented, UFT members deserve more, not MORE, New Action or Unity. This May ballots will be mailed home and members will send a clear message by checking UFT Solidarity and mailing it back.


Don’t take our word for it. We are plugging our opponents websites. Do your research and GET OUT THE VOTE.




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Or run with us on the ballot for UFT Executive Board seats and/or convention delegates. Fill this form out. uftsolidarity.org/runwithus

Print and post flyers at your school.


or join UFT Solidarity as an official member uftsolidarity.org/membership

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