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Join the Union

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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AFTNJ Activism

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

Day of Action to #ReclaimOurSchools

Newark teachers and education activists at Technology HS on Broadway call for resources for students and a return to local control. See http://www.reclaimourschools.org for more information.

Media: Weingarten Joins National Walk In to Reclaim Our Schools in Newark

Contact: Nat Bender, 908-377-0393, nbender [@] aftnj.org

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (www.reclaimourschools.org) is linking together parents, educators, students, school staff and community members more than 70 cities across the country to “Walk in” to support the quality public schools that all our students deserve. With the challenges the Newark education community faces: a budget shortfall because of state mismanagement, crumbling infrastructure and lack of local control, AFT national president Randi Weingarten opted to start her day calling for adequate resources for Newark students.

Who:
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

(invited) Ras Baraka, Mayor, City of Newark

Donna M. Chiera, President, American Federation of Teachers New Jersey

John M. Abeigon, President, Newark Teacher Union

Sharon Smith, Parents United for Local School Education (PULSE)

Roberto Cabanas, NJ Communities United

Where: Technology High School, 187-223 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104

Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Time: 7:30 AM

Friend of Higher Education Gordon MacInnes


NJ Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes accepts the Friend of Higher Education award from AFTNJ Exec. VP of Higher Education Susanna Tardi, PhD.

N.J. lawmakers clash over plan for public-sector pensions

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

EAST BRUNSWICK — Senate President Stephen Sweeney defended his proposal to constitutionally mandate billions of dollars in public-sector pension contributions on Friday from a Republican budget officer who argued that without union concessions New Jersey would go bust.

The debate at the Public Employment Conference, hosted by the state bar, was a replay of the debate in the Legislature last session and a telegraph of disagreements to come as the summer deadline for putting constitutional amendments on the ballot approaches.

Support for the amendment, which requires the state to gradually increase its annual payments into the public retirement fund, has fallen on traditional partisan lines. Democrats say the state must pay now or pay more later, while Republicans’ opposition is rooted in protecting taxpayers from severe spending cuts or tax hikes if the state economy is too sluggish to generate the cash to make the payments.

Democrats have enough votes to put the question on the November ballot without any Republican support. The Democratic-controlled Legislature needs only to approve the measure with a simple majority in back-to-back sessions.

The constitutional amendment would create a guarantee public workers thought they had secured under a 2011 pension reform law that committed the state to incrementally paying more over seven years until it was making the full contribution recommended by actuaries. But Christie went back on that promise when the state ran into revenue problems, and the state Supreme Court ruled in June that he didn’t have to make the payments.

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Larry Hamm accepts Friend of Labor award from James Castiglione

Larry and the People’s Organization for Progress have been on the forefront of advocating for social justice in education for local control of Newark Public Schools, fairness for worker contracts and to investigate racism at Kean University.

Support for Striking Verizon Workers #VerizonStrike #StandUp2Vz @CNJSCL

AFTNJ Joins Support Rally for Striking Verizon Workers

(left to right) Debbie Ware, Charlene Martucci and Karen Bitner at rally to support striking workers Monday in Trenton. Note "Working without a Contract" buttons.

Sign petition to support workers, find an action, get updates at http://standuptoverizon.com

How are 3 N.J. colleges spending millions in student fees?

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — Three New Jersey public colleges have a “heavy reliance” on millions in mandatory students fees but lack transparency about how that money is spent, according to a new state audit.

The review conducted by the state comptroller focuses on Kean University, the College of New Jersey and William Paterson University. Together, the three colleges collected more than $115 million in mandatory fees in 2012-13, the year for which the state conducted the audit.

Only William Paterson was able to provide documentation justifying its fee increase, and none of the colleges disclosed that a portion of their student fees are used to cover payroll expenses, the audit found.

State Comptroller Philip James Degnan called on the colleges to develop written policies for how and when fees should be assessed, although such policies are not required by state law.

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#ONENATION: Paying for Rutgers athletics: Student fee or student free?

By Ryan Dunleavy

In five years, the Rutgers athletic department could be a full-fledged Big Ten member flush with new privately funded facilities and free of all university support for covering its operating deficit.

Unless the student body counts as part of the university.

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Rutgers students explain impact of tuition rollback at Board of Governors open hearing

By Nikhilesh De

Students discussed the impact a tuition rollback

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez | Students discussed the impact a tuition rollback would have on their lives at an open hearing on the Rutgers budget hosted by the Board of Governors Thursday night.

The Rutgers Board of Governors hosted an open hearing on tuition rates Thursday night in the College Avenue Student Center multipurpose room, where members of the University community could discuss what a tuition increase or rollback would mean to them.

One student opened by saying she was $60,000 in debt. Another’s father discussed how he had to take out a loan to help his daughter pay for college, despite being a retiree.

A student’s advisor recommended that she take on a full-time job to help her pay for her last semester at Rutgers.

Several students prepared questions to ask the Board of Governors during the hearing, said David Hughes, president of the American Association of University Professors— American Association of Teachers. They hoped to engage with the members present rather than just have a one-sided conversation. Students at the meeting also requested a tuition rollback of 2.5 percent in the next budget.

“We’re going to actually rhetorically hold the governors and President (Robert L.) Barchi accountable for the misery that they have put upon this generation of students,” he said. “We see this hearing as being a two-way process. We want to know some things from them (so) we’ll ask them some questions and we’ll be expecting some answers.”

The value was a “modest one” to match Rutgers’ 250th birthday, Hughes said. The school’s $74 million surplus this year is a small fraction of the overall tuition revenue, but a 2.5 percent rollback still leaves a large chunk of these funds intact.

[...]

Members of the Rutgers One campaign asked several of the Board of Governors to discuss whether they would vote for a budget that included an increase on tuition, said Patrick Gibson, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

“The way these meetings are (structured), we have this one annual meeting where we get up to two minutes to talk to them,” he said. “There’s no real way to hold them accountable.”

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Rutgers One fights for fair pay, tuition rollbacks

By Jonathan Xiong

A coalition of students groups and labor unions are working to defend public education.

Rutgers One, an organization whose major members include the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Black Lives Matter and the Union of Rutgers Administration, are actively trying to ensure all instructors are paid fairly without burdening students unduly.

The Rutgers One coalition can trace its roots back to a wage freeze beginning in 2009. At the time, various organizations campaigned against wages freezes across the board. Since then, various members have organized protests against the University and other groups.

The organization has existed in its present form for close to two years, said David Hughes, president of the AAUP-AFT and professor in the Department of Anthropology.

“It goes back to the campaign for a fair contract for full-time faculty, as well as students against sweatshops, (and) the beginning of their campaign against Nike,” Hughes said.

None of the previous campaigns were run directly by Rutgers One. Each campaign was orchestrated by its involved member. For example, the anti-sweatshop movement was run by USAS. The current campaign for tuition “rollbacks” is the first time Rutgers One has run a campaign under its own banner.

“Only in the last few months have we gone from a clearing house of ideas into an organization that’s trying to do something in its own name, the tuition rollback campaign,” Hughes said.

[...]

Mary D’Anella Mercanti

Mary D’Anella Mercanti is a member of Rutgers One, a group that is working to help increase instructor pay and lower tuition costs for students.

Mary D’Anella-Mercanti, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student and a member of Rutgers One, rejected the claim that it was a “protest organization.”

“I think it’s more of a group that observes various problems on campus, whether students are aware of them, or faculty are aware of them, and makes sure the administration does something about them,” D’Anella-Mercanti said.

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