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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 »

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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 »

N.J. pension reform one of few in U.S. that saves money in long-term, report shows

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — With its controversial and contested 2011 pension overhaul, New Jersey managed to break through the political friction that has kept most states from passing far-reaching retirement reforms, according to a report released Wednesday from the conservative Manhattan Institute.

All 50 states enacted pension reforms following the Great Recession, when budgets were squeezed by increased need for public services and falling tax collections, but few went as far as New Jersey, the study said.

States are estimated to be $1 trillion short of what it would cost to pay for future benefits promised to government workers. In New Jersey, the local and state unfunded liabilities reached nearly $55 billion, as of July 2014. The majority of that, about $40 billion, is state pension debt.

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Latest gift to Newark schools marks beginning of end for $100M Facebook fund

Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEWARK – The Foundation for Newark’s Future announced a gift to district teachers and principals Wednesday morning, an act that kicks off the final year of its often controversial plan to transform the city’s schools.

Announced at First Avenue School in the North Ward, the $700,000 donation will provide every public school principal in the district with $7,500 to buy new supplies or expand programming, and $100 to every teacher.

[...]

Newark Teachers Union President John M. Abeigon said he was thankful for what he viewed as an acknowledgement that a $90 fund for supplies the district provides teachers was “nowhere near enough.” However, he suggested the outside dollars might be better utilized to restore many of the jobs lost to layoffs in recent years.

“If someone truly wants to help the students of Newark, they would insist that any funding be used to restore these positions, many of which belonged to Newark citizens,” he said in a statement.

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Critics giving new Newark schools superintendent a chance

By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

NEWARK — A year after a schools opening marked by protest and boycott, critics of the policies of the new superintendent in New Jersey’s largest city said they’re willing to give him a chance.

This week, there’s been praise for the early work of Newark School Superintendent Christopher Cerf, a former state education commissioner. He was nominated in June by Gov. Chris Christie after Cami Anderson left the job after four contentious years overseeing a district’s transformation efforts aided by a huge donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Classes begin in the district on Thursday.

John Abeigon, president of the Newark Teachers Union, has a lot of problems with Cerf’s background in what Abeigon called the “reform for profit movement” and the policies he favors, but he said he prefers dealing with him to Anderson.

“He’s more affable, he’s more personable, even when you disagree with him, you can still have a civil disagreement with him,” Abeigon said.

Abeigon said Anderson had stopped dealing with the union at all, but that Cerf has met with him in person, spoken on the phone and exchanged emails with him during his first weeks on the job. Abeigon also said he’s not planning any immediate job actions even though the teacher contract expired in June.

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Common Sense Economics for Young Workers, Sept. 10

  • Understand And Learn To Influence Our Economic Surroundings
  • Achieve A Stronger Economy That Works For All Through Political Action
  • Mobilize Our Collective Strength To Level The Economic Playing Field

September 10, 2015 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

IBEW Local 164
65 W. Century Rd
Paramus, NJ 07652
YoungWorkers@njaflcio.org

Download flier>>

N.J. Senate prez pushing for paid sick leave law, taxing hospitals

By Susan K. Livio, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — State Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he remains committed to passing legislation that would require businesses to provide paid sick days and for nonprofit hospitals to pay property taxes.

But he doesn’t see either issue gaining momentum until after the Assembly elections in November.

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Would Rutgers coach Kyle Flood’s email to prof get him in trouble at other Big Ten schools?

By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — The email that Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood allegedly sent to an instructor in one of his player’s classes would be forbidden on several other schools in the Big Ten, according to a NJ Advance Media survey of campus policies.

[...]

The faculty union, which represents professors and part-time lecturers at the 65,000-student state university, called on Rutgers President Robert Barchi last week to clarify exactly when and if coaches can speak to faculty about athletes.

“The university should reaffirm the integrity of the grading process,” said David Hughes of Rutgers’ faculty union.
“I’m very glad the university is investigating this,” said David Hughes, an anthropology professor who heads the faculty union. “The university should reaffirm the integrity of the grading process.”

Hughes said he does not know the identity of the professor involved in the Flood case. But he believes it is a part-time instructor who is paid less than $5,000 a class.

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Public worker pension loan proposal turning heads, Sweeney says

By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media

TRENTON — Senate President Stephen Sweeney says his proposal for a $1 trillion low-interest pension loan program is a “long shot,” but the federal government should help states get a handle on their crippling pension debt.

Late last month, Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who is considered a likely 2017 candidate for governor, suggested creating a nationwide Federal Reserve loan program to rescue states threatened by high government worker pension shortfalls.

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Rutgers Football Coach Under Investigation

By Scott Logan

[...]

But faculty members said it was indeed unusual, and cause for concern, if Flood was regularly in direct communication with those responsible for teaching his team members.

“There is a general understanding that only academic support personnel should talk to us – and we’re under no obligation to listen,” said David Hughes, an anthropology professor who leads the faculty union.

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What is the average raise for N.J. teachers this year?

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The average raise for New Jersey teachers this school year is about 2.5 percent, according to a new analysis by the New Jersey School Boards Association.

The average raise is based on the contracts between about half of New Jersey’s school districts and their teachers unions, according the school boards association. Average teacher pay in New Jersey was about $69,038 in 2014-15, according to the National Education Association, a national labor union representing teachers and other school employees.

Though the average raise is slightly higher than last year, it’s significantly lower than raises in the 2000s, before Gov. Chris Christie implemented a 2 percent cap on property tax increases. In 2009-10, the average teacher raise was 4.2 percent, according to the school boards association.

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Rutgers offers health majors aid to cover surprise 60 percent tuition hike

By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers University will offer scholarships to freshmen in several health majors to cover a 60 percent tuition hike students said took them by surprise, campus officials said.

Tuition for several majors in Rutgers’ School of Health Related Professions — including sonography, dental hygiene and nuclear medicine – were scheduled to jump from $345 to $552 per credit this fall.

Rutgers officials said the steep hike was needed to bring the majors in line with similar professional programs. But new students enrolling in the program said they did not know about the 60 percent tuition increase until they got their bills this summer.

Many students and their families complained that they had been misled by the university.

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