Metro

City teachers’ union factions unite to replace Michael Mulgrew

A new city teachers’ faction has had it with union boss Michael Mulgrew.

Arguing that he operates without properly engaging members, a coalition of politically disparate blocs has united against Mulgrew.

The groups are setting aside their sometimes contentious histories to remake the leadership of the United Federation of Teachers.

Calling itself “United for Change,” the coalition includes left-leaning progressive groups like the Movement for Rank and File Educators along with more centrist blocs like UFT Solidarity.

“United for Change is composed of school workers who want to see a fundamental shift at the top of their union after entrenched, increasingly undemocratic and unaccountable, single-party control,” the group wrote in a press release Wednesday.M

Mulgrew has led the UFT since 2009 while his Unity Caucus has wielded control for nearly 60 years.

He handily prevailed in the last election in 2019, netting 86 percent of the overall vote.

Michael Mulgrew
Mulgrew, UFT heads have been accused of conducting business without adequate engagement of the rank and file.
Kevin C. Downs

But United for Change member Annie Tan said that the new coalition will present a less fractured challenge to Unity’s reign.

“These are groups that have not collaborated in the past,” she said. “We want to democratize the union and not have one group continue to dictate everything.”

Tan argued that the pandemic intensified dissatisfaction with leadership among some union groups and enabled the new bloc’s unlikely formation.

UFT sign
The United Federation of Teachers is the labor union that represents most teachers in NYC public schools.
Christopher Sadowski

The Brooklyn teacher accused UFT heads of conducting business without adequate engagement of the rank and file — especially during the height of the pandemic.

“I don’t want to find out about important UFT business on Twitter,” Tan remarked.

A UFT spokesperson said the organization welcomed the group.

“The UFT is proud to be a vigorous democracy,” said Dick Riley.


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