|Dear Members -This Back to School season is like no other, and I hope that you are experiencing some of the traditional excitement and exuberance that makes this time of year so special. While much remains uncertain, and we are facing unique threats and challenges, I hope that you had the time to enjoy the beautiful weather over Labor Day weekend, and spend time with friends and family. To face the challenges ahead of us, relaxation and revival are both necessary, and warranted.This most recent Labor Day was a time to recognize the significant contributions of unions to American human rights and progress. We fought to earn the right to bargain with our employer, and for the protections negotiated and enshrined in our Teacher and PSRP contracts. However, the history of labor in the US shows us that not all fights can be won at the negotiating table. In order to win what we deserve, we will have to fight collectively using strategies taught to us by Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Mother Jones, Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta. The challenges that families, students, and educators now face are unprecedented. The demands being placed on all of us are unrealistic and unhelpful to the point of being dangerous. BTU teachers, paraprofessionals, and school related personnel, stand with our labor sisters and brothers who work in Baltimore City Public Schools transportation and building maintenance, and our janitorial, custodial, and cafeteria workers, who are the most directly impacted essential workers on the jobsite.As the frontline workers in City Schools, you go above and beyond as a normal course of action. Day (and night) Baltimore’s educators’ ability to stretch themselves beyond normal capacity is being exploited by a system that is inherently designed to fail to educate all students. BTU members, as well as our school’s cafeteria and custodial workers are at the heart of everything that’s going right in this school system, from the connections with families, to the innovative practices in virtual learning, to the meal site coordination when uncertainty about the pandemic was at its height in March.For the sake of yourself and your students you must remain well, and well informed of your rights. Chaos and confusion create dysfunction, and dysfunction threatens safety. Being safe begins with being informed. I am at the negotiating table, fighting for your rights, and as we reach agreement with the district, we’ll be keeping you informed and updated. You can read more on the BTU website about our most recent Tentative Agreements on issues like reporting to worksites and access to technology. These Tentative Agreements are the new protections and guidelines negotiated by the union and the district, and reviewing them at the start of the year is essential.I am also asking you to engage deeply in community with your coworkers, your students and their families during this time. Our school district may take advantage of opportunities to divide us, but as teachers, clinicians, and PSRPs, we know our job is to advocate alongside families so that they can get what they need. I encourage you to put the T back in PTA, and attend your school’s PTA meetings to generate even more connections with parents. Please join the BTU COVID Taskforce, sign the petition demanding a virtual first semester, and continue to contact the school board, and elected officials about the challenges we are facing and the resources we need.Most importantly, I am asking you to do the work you need to do internally to maintain your own peace and passion – breathe, read, spend time with people you love, be outside (safely) as much as you can, hug your family members and pets, exercise, cook a wonderful meal, and do whatever else you can in order to de-stress and maintain your balance. As we fight for our safety over the coming months, our physical and emotional health will be called upon in new ways, and our cups must be full enough to pour into others.Never forget – when we fight we win.
In solidarity,President Brown
NEXT BTU EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING: THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 17TH:WATCH LIVE VIA ZOOM WEBINAR!Members are invited to observe the upcoming BTU Executive Board meeting on September 17 at 6:00pm, which will be a Zoom webinar. Members will need to register for the Zoom webinar, have their membership checked, and then will receive an email with a link from BTU Admin to join the webinar as an “Attendee”. Attendees can observe the meeting but will not participate in the meeting. To register for the Sept 17 webinar, please go to https://aft.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KeCCSBn6QLug9-kC7caQrw. The deadline to fill out the registration form to attend the webinar is 5pm on Wednesday September 16.
NEW BTU STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION
*NOW AVAILABLE ON THE MEMBERS ONLY SECTION OF THE BTU WEBSITE!*Members! You can now see the visual notes from the monthly LisTEN Event with President Brown, as well as minutes from BTU Executive Board meetings. Instructions for securely accessing this information was sent to members’ personal email address, if we have one for you on file. For information about how to access the members only section of the website, please email email@example.com.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS ONLY!Based on the requests from new teachers from the SY2019-2020, the BTU New Teacher Steering Committee created a private page on the BTU website to host our Instructional Toolbox, a resource site with links to educator topics such as observations and how to document as a special educator. This page is password protected, and since this message goes to several members’ work email addresses, we cannot share it here. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org from your personal email account for the password. Please peruse our experienced teachers’ videos and resources as well as start a discussion and ask questions about the topics. Since we just posted this private page, please let us know if you have any difficulties accessing the resources.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT! COMPLETE THE CENSUS TODAY!The Census is available online and does not take long to complete. When completing the census, you will include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020.Please click here to complete the Census today!
The BTU Private Facebook Group has topped 3,000 members!
Click here to join the discussion!