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AFTNJ’s objective is to promote state wide organization and unionization of public and private school teachers, paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; other workers organized in conformity with More »


Prekindergarten – 12

From the state’s largest school district to small privates, AFTNJ stands up for New Jersey’s students. Our members teach early childhood education to prepare kids for school, special education and every topic More »


Higher Education

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey is the largest higher education union in the state, representing full and part-time faculty, all levels of administrative, professional and supervisory staff, graduate workers, and More »


AFTNJ Activism

AFTNJ members advocate for education and stand up for social justice. More »

AFTNJ, Professional Firefighters Association and League of Conservation Voters Endorse Zwicker for State Assembly

By Krystal Knapp

Andrew Zwicker, a Democratic candidate challenging Jack Ciaterelli and Donna Simon to represent New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District 16, has been endorsed by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, which represents more than 4,000 firefighters and emergency services workers, and by the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey, which represents 32,000 members who work in schools from pre-kindergarten through university. Zwicker has also been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.

“I am honored to be endorsed by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey and by the AFT,” Zwicker said, adding that if he is elected, he will make full funding of state pensions a priority.

“It is appalling that the state government has ducked out of its responsibility to fund the pensions of state workers, including first responders,” Zwicker said.


Kean University cutting jobs in reorganization plan

By Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for

UNION — Kean University will cut positions through a reorganization plan involving the library and two other offices that provide support services for students.

However, the number of positions that will be cut has not been determined, and a university spokeswoman said it is uncertain when the reorganization plan will be implemented.

James Castiglione, head the Kean Federation of Teachers, the faculty union, said he had heard that the layoffs could range from a few positions up to 50.


The university is moving ahead with the plan despite a plea from Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex), chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, who sent a letter to the trustees asking them to reconsider any layoffs.

“Denying the most needy students access to the very employees who are responsible for every facet of learning and support outside the classroom seems not just unconscionable but contrary to common sense and damaging to Kean’s particular mission,” said Jasey in the letter dated Sept. 14.

Castiglione said the cuts will hurt the students most in need of help.

“At a time when the university is increasing tuition and fees for students 3 percent, the highest increase in the state, and when they are admitting students who need more support services than ever, to be cutting those personnel providing those services would be catastrophic to student retention and graduation rates,” Castiglione said.


Charter school proposed for former Star-Ledger property in Newark

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for

NEWARK – New York-based Uncommon Schools is hoping to build a new charter school at the former home of the Star-Ledger newspaper.

The proposed six-story North Star Academy building would be built at a vacant parking lot and parking garage on Court Street and Washington Street, across from the newspaper’s old headquarters.


Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon sent an email to planning officials Monday urging them to reject the proposal, saying the widespread expansion of charter schools are responsible for a now-perennial public school budget deficit. He also argued that the city is home to a number of former school buildings that are now vacant, such as Dayton Street School.

“It is absurd to watch Newark Public Schools close school buildings in order to ‘save money’ and then allow charters to open new or expand existing facilities that will take away more funding,” he said in the email, which was shared with NJ Advance Media.


Public worker retirements climbing again with N.J. pension talks

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for

TRENTON — Nearly 10 percent more government workers retired in the first seven months of the year than in the same period last year, a rise some labor leaders say is a response to Gov. Chris Christie’s overtures toward cutting benefits.

More than 13,000 public employees retired through July, compared with fewer than 12,000 in 2014, and the increase was concentrated among state workers and public safety employees, state data shows.


Video: Andrew Zwicker and Maurine Vella for 16th District Assembly

Assembly candidates for Nov. 3, 2015 in NJ legislative district 16. Learn more at

Video: Eric Houghtaling & Joann Downey for NJ State Assembly 11 District

Learn more about these labor-endorsed candidates and how you can help at

Video: Nick Yovnello Social Justice Scholarship Brunch 2015

Thank you to all who attended as a tribute to labor leader Nick Yovnello and in support of social justice work and student activism

Newark teachers’ union says merit pay hasn’t worked

By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. – It was hailed as a breakthrough when the bargain was struck: Top-performing teachers in Newark could get bigger paychecks.

The provision in a 2012 contract struck between the state-run school district and the Newark Teachers Union was the first of its kind in New Jersey. It was made possible because of a large donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg intended to improve education in the city.

But three years later, the contract has expired, and the new president of the union local says that it hasn’t worked and that it’s not a sure thing the union will agree to keep the provision in its current form.

Several teachers said that they had problems with the contract and that the merit pay hadn’t worked, though no one was willing to speak on the record for fear of reprisals.


John Abeigon became president of the Newark Teachers Union this year. Abeigon said the merit pay had not lived up to the hopes, or hype. It awarded just under $1.5 million to 233 teachers last year; they received an average of $6,000 each.

“It’s more a failure than it is a success,” Abeigon said. “In little pockets, it’s a success.”


Video: Corinne Reilly Ferretto accepts Nick Yovnello Social Justice Scholarship

First recipient of AFTNJ scholarship for student activism.

Video: Karen Siefring Tribute to Nick Yovnello

Karen Siefring worked with Nick at Rowan University and in the AFT local there.

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