Labor Union

Baltimore Teachers Union

Location:

BALTIMORE, MD

Tax ID:

52-6044136

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $7,004,360
Expenses: $7,239,309
Assets: $9,540,004

Type:

Labor union

President:

Diamante Brown

The Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) is a local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second largest teacher’s union in the country and a member of the AFL-CIO. [1] BTU represents nearly 7,000 teachers in the Baltimore City Public Schools system. [2]

BTU has had several disputes with the city of Baltimore in recent years, alleging that the city pressured teachers to mark absent students as present to keep up enrollment numbers and denied overtime payment to teachers. [3] [4] During the COVID-19 pandemic, BTU became active in promoting all-virtual education, calling on Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) to support an all-remote fall semester in July 2020, then demanding that Comcast provide free high-speed internet to students and teachers. [5] [6] BTU has a history of putting teacher interests before students, defending teachers against a 2020 revelation that hundreds of Baltimore instructors had not renewed their certifications. [7]

In 2019, BTU elected Diamante Brown of the Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (BMORE) as president. Brown’s election was an upset over Marietta English, the long-time president of BTU.

Union Activities

BTU is active in the Baltimore area, often taking on the city and other local schools to promote left-of-center policies favorable to teachers. BTU has also taken action at the state level to promote its policy agenda. In 2018, BTU asked that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) refuse to accept any federal funding to support arming teachers in Baltimore to prevent school shootings. [8]

In 2011, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter school collective supported Maryland legislation that would allow teachers more flexibility in amending collective bargaining agreements, given that all teachers in Maryland at the time were required to be part of a union. [9] BTU opposed KIPP’s support of the legislation, and further came into conflict with KIPP after the charter school group rejected BTU demands for a particular overtime rate for teachers. [10]

Conflict with the City of Baltimore

BTU has had several disputes with the city of Baltimore. In 2016, Baltimore public schools experienced a drop in student attendance. The BTU president alleged that many teachers felt pressure to keep perpetually absent students marked as present in order to inflate enrollment for state funding. [11] BTU faced further controversy in August of 2017 when several teachers came forward alleging that failing grades they had submitted for student performance were later changed online to allow seniors to graduate. [12]

In 2019, BTU asked that pedestal fans be donated to the Baltimore City Public Schools because about one-third of public-school buildings lacked air-conditioning. The school district rebuffed calls for additional pedestal fans, arguing that some schools could not handle multiple fans operating simultaneously. [13] The school district is estimated to have a $3 billion maintenance backlog, which BTU has decried. [14]

BTU has since taken similar stances on Baltimore school funding. In 2020, the Baltimore City Public Schools system faced a $60 million budget deficit. [15] When presented with the financial realities, BTU President Brown called the finance department presentation insulting, insisting that government administrators stop proposing cuts and instead “tell us how we’re going to get it done.” [16]

COVID-19 Pandemic

Baltimore Teachers Union has been especially active in trying to influence Baltimore’s response to COVID-19. In June of 2020, BTU alleged that teachers worked an extra four days beyond the 190 days listed in their teacher contract as a result of the pandemic. [17] BTU appealed to the Baltimore City Public Schools seeking back pay for the four additional days. [18] Brown filed a class-action grievance against Baltimore City Public Schools, alleging that the four days in question occurred when public schools were closing due to coronavirus in March, meaning teachers went unpaid by the district during that period. [19]

In July of 2020, BTU, the Maryland State Education Association, and Maryland PTA asked Governor Hogan and School Superintendent Karen Solomon support an entirely remote fall semester for Maryland public schools. [20] One month later, BTU and the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association staged a bike and car rally to demand that Comcast provide free internet to educators and students during the pandemic. Brown claimed that Comcast gave students “crumbs,” and that the high-speed essential package was “absolutely insufficient for meeting the demands of our students and educators.” [21]

Teacher Certification

BTU has a history of advocating for teacher interests, even contrary to dominant laws and policies in Baltimore and in Maryland more broadly. In 2019, BTU opposed a proposal to tie teacher salaries and certification to formal observations of teachers in the Baltimore City Public Schools system. [22]

In May of 2020, Fox 45 news launched “Project Baltimore,” which found that hundreds of teachers were not credentialed in the Baltimore City Public Schools. [23] Every five years, teachers must renew their certificates to teach, but teachers in Baltimore claimed it was difficult to renew their certificates, despite surrounding counties of Anne Arundel, Howard, and Baltimore County reporting zero teachers with certification problems. [24] BTU defended teachers, arguing that the lack of certifications did not impact teacher effectiveness. [25]

2019 Baltimore Teachers Union Election

In 2019, longtime BTU president Marietta English lost her bid for reelection to Diamante Brown, an upstart challenger who had received 901 votes to English’s 839. [26] English accused Brown’s campaign of using Baltimore public school software to campaign and working in buildings they were not supposed to enter. [27]

Brown is a part of the Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (BMORE), a left-of-center labor organization inspired by the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike that aims to “transform the BTU from a service union to a social justice union.” [28]

Brown responded to English with allegations that BTU leadership had tried to limit voting hours, remove voting locations, and deny absentee ballots to swing the election in English’s favor. [29]

The BTU Nomination and Elections Commission, which had been appointed by English, announced that they would hold a new election. [30] Nonetheless, BTU’s national union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), stepped in and upheld the results of the initial election, a move that English called “an injustice to our union.” [31]

References

  1. Baltimore Teachers Union. (2020, February 05). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.aft.org/affiliate/00340-0 ^
  2. Ashwell, A. (2020, May 07). Union says Baltimore teachers need time, technology. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/union-says-baltimore-teachers-need-time-technology ^
  3. Green, E. (2016, January 30). Baltimore schools lose hundreds of students, millions in funding. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-ci-schools-enrollment-drop-20160129-story.html ^
  4. Baltimore Teachers Union files grievance over unpaid days. (2020, June 24). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-grievance-unpaid-days/32959250 ^
  5. Panetta, K. (2020, July 15). Maryland educators calling to make fall semester entirely virtual. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wmdt.com/2020/07/maryland-educators-calling-to-make-fall-semester-entirely-virtual/ ^
  6. Oyefusi, D. (2020, August 4). Baltimore teachers, students and parents rally to demand Comcast expand its free internet service as virtual learning continues. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/baltimore-teachers-students-and-parents-rally-to-demand-comcast-expand-its-free-internet-service-as-virtual-learning-continues/ar-BB17wTdz ^
  7. Papst, C. (2020, May 28). Number of Uncertified Teachers in City Schools Increases. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/number-of-uncertified-teachers-in-city-schools-increases ^
  8. Baltimore Teachers Union Slams Trump’s Firearms Proposal. (2018, March 14). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from http://www.wboc.com/story/37725098/baltimore-teachers-union-slams-trumps-firearms-proposal ^
  9. Zehr, M. (2019, February 21). KIPP, Teachers’ Union Go Toe to Toe in Baltimore. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/03/16/24kipp_ep.h30.html ^
  10. Zehr, M. (2019, February 21). KIPP, Teachers’ Union Go Toe to Toe in Baltimore. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/03/16/24kipp_ep.h30.html ^
  11. Green, E. (2016, January 30). Baltimore schools lose hundreds of students, millions in funding. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-ci-schools-enrollment-drop-20160129-story.html ^
  12. Papst, C. (2017, August 17). Headline: One School District, no clear grade changing policy. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/headline-one-school-district-no-clear-grade-changing-policy ^
  13. Baltimore teachers call for donated fans, district resists. (2019, August 14). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://sports.yahoo.com/baltimore-teachers-call-donated-fans-124230203.html ^
  14. Baltimore teachers call for donated fans, district resists. (2019, August 14). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://sports.yahoo.com/baltimore-teachers-call-donated-fans-124230203.html ^
  15. Richman, Talia. “Baltimore Schools CEO Warns of Potential $60 Million Budget Gap: ‘I’m Not at Panic Mode Yet’,” December 4, 2019. https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-pol-schools-funding-gap-20191204-uq3vexrc25gutbobg5nase7k6q-story.html. ^
  16. Richman, Talia. “Baltimore Schools CEO Warns of Potential $60 Million Budget Gap: ‘I’m Not at Panic Mode Yet’,” December 4, 2019. https://www.baltimoresun.com/education/bs-md-pol-schools-funding-gap-20191204-uq3vexrc25gutbobg5nase7k6q-story.html. ^
  17. Baltimore Teachers Union files grievance over unpaid days. (2020, June 24). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-grievance-unpaid-days/32959250 ^
  18. Baltimore Teachers Union files grievance over unpaid days. (2020, June 24). Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-grievance-unpaid-days/32959250 ^
  19. Round, I. (2020, June 24). Baltimore Teachers Union files grievance over days they say members worked in March. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://baltimorebrew.com/2020/06/24/baltimore-teachers-union-files-grievance-over-days-they-say-members-worked-in-march/ ^
  20. Panetta, K. (2020, July 15). Maryland educators calling to make fall semester entirely virtual. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wmdt.com/2020/07/maryland-educators-calling-to-make-fall-semester-entirely-virtual/ ^
  21. Oyefusi, D. (2020, August 4). Baltimore teachers, students and parents rally to demand Comcast expand its free internet service as virtual learning continues. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/baltimore-teachers-students-and-parents-rally-to-demand-comcast-expand-its-free-internet-service-as-virtual-learning-continues/ar-BB17wTdz ^
  22. Tooten, T. (2019, September 10). Teachers push back against proposed evaluations in classrooms. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-push-back-against-proposed-evaluations/28985117 ^
  23. Papst, C. (2020, May 28). Number of Uncertified Teachers in City Schools Increases.

    Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/number-of-uncertified-teachers-in-city-schools-increases ^

  24. Papst, C. (2020, May 28). Number of Uncertified Teachers in City Schools Increases.

    Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/number-of-uncertified-teachers-in-city-schools-increases ^

  25. Papst, C. (2020, May 28). Number of Uncertified Teachers in City Schools Increases. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/number-of-uncertified-teachers-in-city-schools-increases ^
  26. Tooten, T. (2019, May 23). Baltimore Teachers Union to hold new election for president.

    Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-new-election-for-president/27571286 ^

  27. Tooten, T. (2019, May 23). Baltimore Teachers Union to hold new election for president. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-new-election-for-president/27571286 ^
  28. Harvey, R. (2018, January 11). Amid Freezing Classrooms, Baltimore’s Teachers Fight to Democratize… Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/20833/baltimore-teachers-rank-and-file-students-social-justice ^
  29. Cohen, R. (2019, June 07). The Radical Teachers’ Movement Comes to Baltimore. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/baltimore-teachers-union/ ^
  30. Tooten, T. (2019, May 23). Baltimore Teachers Union to hold new election for president. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from https://www.wbaltv.com/article/baltimore-teachers-union-new-election-for-president/27571286 ^
  31. Antonucci, A. (2019, May 16). Social Justice Activist Ousts 21-Year Incumbent as Baltimore Teachers Union President. Retrieved August 17, 2020, from http://www.eiaonline.com/intercepts/2019/05/16/social-justice-activist-ousts-21-year-incumbent-as-baltimore-teachers-union-president/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1945

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $7,004,360 $7,239,309 $9,540,004 $8,406,457 N $0 $6,793,634 $9,179 $309,422
    2016 Jun Form 990 $6,853,384 $6,866,658 $6,070,810 $5,217,873 N $0 $6,711,347 $8,488 $311,894 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $6,828,233 $6,609,978 $5,705,714 $4,017,873 N $0 $6,700,329 $2,394 $317,323 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $6,791,083 $6,582,879 $5,782,566 $4,009,438 N $150,000 $6,511,192 $2,652 $277,304 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $6,488,623 $6,335,969 $5,232,835 $3,777,230 N $0 $6,376,359 $3,731 $200,073 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $6,228,263 $6,259,861 $4,923,226 $3,674,423 N $0 $6,101,255 $4,766 $245,280 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $6,168,215 $5,898,986 $4,791,144 $3,541,383 N $0 $6,030,324 $5,849 $241,320 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Baltimore Teachers Union

    5800 METRO DRIVE
    BALTIMORE, MD 21215-3223