- Complete Your Building Representative Election Results Form
Please complete this form after electing Building Reps. Each Building Rep will receive a $500 stipend in return for completion of necessary building activities and attendance and sign-in of at least 70% of Membership/Building Rep. Meetings.
- Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) Resources
- The Role of the Building Representative
View and download the full 2019-20 Building Rep Handbook.
Building Representatives hold a very important role in not only our union, but in our schools as well. In general, there are five main roles of Building Representatives. These roles are described below:
- Leader: Building Representatives, by definition, represent our members and the Boston Teachers Union. Our building representatives must be effective leaders that other members feel comfortable turning to for support in a variety of ways. It is important to be approachable and to model professionalism as a lead educator so that you are in the best position possible to advocate for what is needed to improve the school, support our members, and best serve our students. It is important to lead by example, take initiative, and act as a team player.
- Communicator: Building Reps help other staff to understand BTU positions and policy, to learn about changes that are happening in the field, to learn about opportunities to become more engaged, and to help members make their voices heard in the union and policy world. To be a great communicator, it is important to STAY INFORMED! It is absolutely important that Reps attend membership and Building Rep meetings; open, read and respond to emails and mailings you receive; and read the E-Bulletin each week. It is also important to become familiar with the contract, read the BTU Newspapers, and above all ASK QUESTIONS if you don’t understand something or need help! The union depends on building reps for two-way communication.
- Organizer: That means having your building structured so that there is a visible, functioning Union network that can be used to not only enforce the contract, but to advocate for positive changes to improve our schools and beyond. There should be structures for members to meet regularly, communicate information between members, and to engage members in larger efforts to improve not just your own school, but beyond. It is our job to educate our new members about the importance of the Union and to encourage their participation. We must build organizational capacity by signing up new members, listening to what our members need, having conversations to build community, and taking action as needed.
- Problem-Solver: As a problem solver, Building Reps help to mediate conflicts, overcome challenges, and facilitate productive communication between our members and the administration. Serving as an active member of the Faculty Senate is one way to do so. You can help in the day-to-day school activities and keep the Senate informed about Union policy. But it may go beyond the Senate. You may be required to meet with the building administration to iron out school problems, especially as they relate to areas of the contract. And, of course, it includes handling grievances at Step One. The Field Reps are always available to support you in this aspect of your role.
- Friend: Especially for members new to a building, Representatives act as someone they can turn to for help and to get questions answered, and to feel welcomed into a new environment. Reps should be the first to welcome new members. The BTU is a collection of all of us sharing our common hopes, and aspirations, and our friendship. Alone and isolated we are just employees. Together, we are the Boston Teachers Union.
Be prepared! Make sure you have the following tools handy to help you. Anything you’re missing can be picked up at the BTU office:
- Contracts, including Election to Work Agreements, Innovation Plans, or Charter MOUs if applicable
- Building Rep Handbook
- Membership Applications/COPE cards
- Voter Registration Cards
- List of all BTU members at your school including phone and personal email
- Lists: members of your school’s current School Site Council, as well as, your school’s By-Laws, ILT members, SST members, and Parent Council members.
- Website addresses:
Each school or group is allowed one (1) representative for every twenty-five (25) Union members or portion thereof. Elections should be held and the results reported in writing to the Union office by June 1. Thereafter, the attendance sheets for meetings will be set up to determine eligibility for the Building Rep stipend.
- How to File a Grievance
One of the most important duties of the Building Representative is the handling of grievances at Step One. Therefore, it is imperative that all Building Representatives become thoroughly familiar with the “Dispute Resolution” sections of the contract, and especially with the paragraphs which deal with the filing of a grievance at the school level. This is found in Article X of the teacher contract and Article V of the paraprofessional, substitute, and ABA contracts.
Put in general terms, a “grievance” is a statement which says that a teacher’s rights have been violated due to a misinterpretation or misapplication of the contract. It is not a general complaint or claim of unfair treatment.
The importance of filing a grievance when applicable is obvious. A grievance must be filed every time an individual teacher’s rights are violated in order to protect the rights of the entire membership.
Here is a list of guidelines which the Building Rep should follow in filing a grievance.