By Bruce Anderson
Theirs Is a Traditional Untraditional (TRUF) Union.
The key information about TUF is that they are open to the public.
Mission: To represent Baltimore teachers in negotiations with the city school system and offer positive guidance to educators, the students, parents and community.
The union’s mission: The union was formed to help provide middle school and high school teachers, as well as support staff with information and resources in organizing their careers. They provide professional development and support and offer professional structure within the scope of working directly for the school system and often within the district’s competitive salary range.
Teacher Background: TUF holds a core vision to provide for the collective wellbeing of teachers within Baltimore City public schools. Our teachers are ourselves members of the community and face many pressures in a system that is in crisis due to underfunding. We are there to provide valuable resources for teachers, including classroom and professional development, providing tools to foster engagement in their teaching and learning.
Membership: We are a public institution with a defined constitution and membership. Being within a formal union provides the unique perspectives required for success. However, TUF is not tied to any monolithic union membership.
Ethics: Teachers are limited to the official language of the TUF Constitution, which offers rules and guidelines for open association, which leads us to refer to our administration as the Executive Board. The national staff office has to approve anything found in our constitution and every year TUF prides itself on upholding the health, welfare and work environment for teachers. The political landscape of education affects every teacher and teachers work in a system that is both chronically underfunded and in crisis in many areas, including the opioid crisis, mental health, support for working class students and gentrification.
Formation: TUF’s government was formed following five months of work with Baltimore teachers.
First Recruits: TUF was founded by Jayme Kuresa, Kathleen Brooks, Vivian Butler, Howard Carter, Margaret Campbell, Shamaa Elso, Dorsey Moore, Susan Myers, Roxanne Stanley, Kyra Taylor, Maria Villanueva, Susan Wang, Leondra Williams, Saundra Wilson and Ruth Williams.