In Philadelphia there is a rising tide of teachers who are somewhat disgruntled by the actions being taken by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT). Groups like Teachers Lead Philly and Teacher Action Group have formed to take a stance on various policies in the city in an attempt to affect change. While these groups are not exactly political parties as the caucuses in NYC seem to be, they are still fighting to change a system that has been very slow to change.
One major unfortunate comparison I have between the UFT's Unity Caucus and the PFT in general is the general meetings during which resolutions are voted on. The story in Philadelphia goes back to the Fall of 2009 when the contract was being decided and the official vote was very undemocratic. Instead of using the paper ballots to end the meeting, Jerry Jordan instead asked for "aye" and "nay" votes, declaring that the "ayes" had it. Only later were paper ballots counted but by that time so many people had left any opposition would have been useless.
I was told today that similar issues take place at the UFT's Delegates Assembly where chapter leaders and delegates from each school come together to decide on things. Here, too, there are no paper ballots and yelling is the way to approve or disapprove of a resolution. This unfortunate and undemocratic method is now coming into question by groups like MORE and others.
While I am unsure where I stand in all of the UFT politics currently, I definitely want to ensure proper democratic processes in the future.