Cope is one of the most important Committees the BTU has, we encourage all members to use the COPE Committee as a way to get involved and to take action.
What is COPE? How does it work?
COPE stands for the Committee on Political Education.
Form the womb to the tomb, we are impacted by politics. Public education relies on public money to exist. Public money, usually in the form of taxes, is controlled by elected and appointed politicians. To influence decisions and the spending of public money for public education, we participate in politics through our unions.
Legislative battles are about to take place that will significantly determine key aspects of our work environment. Many of the improvements in our environment are not negotiated at the bargaining table, but instead, require legislation. In 2012, we must convince legislators to support legislation that would give us a voice on the school board and improve laws that we have in place.
We must be able to lobby effectively if we are to succeed in getting the laws we need enacted. Having a friend in the Governor’s chair is helpful when it comes to negotiating our terms and conditions of employment. It’s impossible to succeed in lobbying without political action. The brilliance of rightness of our arguments rarely persuades politicians. They want to know what we can do for them (or perhaps for their opponents). Those are the hard facts of political life. COPE funds give us political clout.
HOW ARE COPE FUNDS COLLECTED?
COPE funds are collected through voluntary payroll deduction. The Union can only contribute to fundraisers for specific candidates, and voluntary contributions are the only way to establish an adequate COPE fund. State law and our contract establish our right to a check-off for COPE.
WHO CAN SPEND COPE FUNDS?
The COPE committee makes recommendations. COPE funds are used primarily to assist our legislative friends on the local and state levels with fundraising activities, to raise awareness in the community about issues that are impacting our profession and our students and to lobby the legislators in support of or against legislation.
HOW DO MEMBERS CONTRIBUE TO COPE?
Members must fill out a COPE deduction card to authorize the amount to be deducted from paychecks per pay period. The minimum deduction is $1.00 per pay period. To sign-up for COPE, visit or call the Baltimore Teachers Union office at 410-358-6600.
The Legislative Committee
The Legislative Committee is another extremly important committee the BTU has.
Legislative Committee. This Committee informs members about legislation in the Maryland General Assembly and at the National level that impacts education and educators in the city of Baltimore.
The first day of the 2012 General Assembly of Maryland starts on January 11th. Hundreds of other education-related bills will be filed and included in the 2012 legislative agenda. Our efforts to fight on behalf of our students, schools, and profession include:
- Supporting a partial elected school board in Baltimore City
We want to give the voters of Baltimore City the right to determine if they want an elected school board. This may help in the effort to make class sizes smaller and get rid of Fair Student Funding.
- Urging Gov. O’Malley to introduce a budget that maintains Thornton funding formulas
We want to call on the Governor to introduce a budget that keeps critical resources in our classrooms by maintaining per pupil funding formulas, fully funding the geographic cost of the education index, and restoring the inflation factor.
- Improving student achievement
Whether it is to encourage greater parental involvement, recruit and retain outstanding teachers, or ensure that high quality professional development opportunities exist, we must focus on solutions that help educators do a better job of teaching and students learn.
- Improving Retirement Security
While we would like to repeal the harmful pension reforms from last session, we must prioritize our efforts to end the “Teacher Tax,” protect COLAs for current and future retirees, and seek long-term relief in employee contribution rates as the pension system is strengthened and stabilized.
- Protecting and strengthening bargaining rights
We want to call on legislators to oppose “right to work” legislation and any usurping of bargaining rights.