We were under contract from July 1, 2015 until June 30, 2018. We are now frozen under the terms of the expired agreement until a new contract is agreed to by the Board and Association.
Download the 2015-18 contract here:
Negotiations began in late fall of 2017 for a successor agreement. We’ve met with the Board on:
OCTOBER 22ND RALLY and Mediation cancelled by Board!
The Board’s attorney is ill and was unable to represent them yesterday. The Mediator’s next open date is in January. We asked for an expedited date earlier, possibly on a Friday in November. We will let you know. Thanks to all of those who made plans to attend and for the late cancellation notice. I didn’t get the call until 6th period and couldn’t begin making calls, emails, and texts until after my last class. No problem – we just have more time to prepare and make the next rally bigger yet! See you there! Thanks to the 30 members who volunteered their time to make signs – lots of signs. Sincerely, Lou Russo 10/23/18
July 25: The Negotiations Committee began mediation at 11:30am and continued until 7:45pm on July 25. The state-appointed mediator spent the majority of the time with the Board. He gave them two weeks to respond to his proposal. NEXT MEETING SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 22. By that time, we will know if we have a settlement or if we will move to the next step in the negotiations process: Fact Finding. Fact-finding is a detailed compilation of evidence from both sides, evaluated by the state-appointed Fact Finder, who makes a recommendation for settlement. The Fact Finder’s report can become public knowledge.
In short, the Board wants you to give more time each day, via shortened lunch and prep. periods, while asking you to pay more premium sharing for inferior health insurance, and offering a salary increase over 1% less than the county average and not enough for step movement. The team won’t settle for this. What are you willing to do about it?
December 13, January 16 (cancelled by Board), February 22, March 27, May 1 and 22, June 13 and 28. Some progress has been made; some editorial language items tentatively agreed upon. However we are still wide apart on economic items of salary, teaching time, and health insurance. After the Board’s (much) less than county average salary offer on June 28, the V.E.A. opted to file for state mediation. The Board wants us to simply take less than average, while working more time each day and making significant changes (increased costs to us) to health insurance. We filed for mediation with the NJ Public Employment Relations Commission after the June 28 meeting. We have had to file for mediation the last three contracts. The first mediation is scheduled for July 25 at noon. It is disappointing that the elected Board and their hired negotiating team are unable to negotiate in good faith with their largest employee union and have to be forced to settle by the State. But that’s what happens when the wrong people are elected. Only Cedric Holmes remained at the table for the entire meeting. The others left and wouldn’t even face us to give us a last chance to negotiate directly. #lack of respect?
Now are needed members willing to participate in the process – we are organizing “Action Teams” at each worksite to communicate and organize our members in building unity among us, then gaining community support. This is important and critical work that impacts the time, health insurance and financial well-being of every member and their family. Please participate. Contact us at the VEA office at 696-9200 or email Vice-President Regina Merkel at email@example.com.
September 2017: Interested in Negotiations or playing a part? Take the time now to attend Negotiations and salary guide workshops and get involved in the Association to learn the process at the CCCEA Region I overnight, NJEA Summer and/or Winter Leadership conferences, the Jim George Collective Bargaining Summit, or contact me (Lou Russo) for more information. Any member may apply to serve on the Negotiations Committee. Anyone interested should send a written letter of interest by regular mail to the Executive Committee care of the VEA office or via email to Kathy Serrano at VEAKSerrano@gmail.com. Your Building Representatives should be speaking with you in one on one meetings to help determine bargaining priorities. If you have ideas or needs, please forward them to us via mail or email.