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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 »

Press: Perth Amboy Teachers Reach Tentative Agreement with Board of Education

The Perth Amboy Federation, AFT Local 857, AFL-CIO and the Perth Amboy Board of Education are pleased to announce that they have reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract covering the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018.

The Federation expects to hold a ratification vote in early September. If the settlement is approved by the members, the Board of Education expects to conduct its vote at its September meeting.

The Federation’s negotiations team was led by Donna Tartza. Jose Rodriquez served as negotiations chair for the Board’s team. Both chairs had praise for the hard work and dedication shown in reaching the settlement.

Hillary reserves ‘seat at the table’ for AFT

Donna M. Chiera and Secretary Hillary R. Clinton

Donna M. Chiera and Secretary Hillary R. Clinton

#IamWithHer

Hillary Clinton drew big cheers and rounds of thunderous applause from AFT convention delegates July 18 when she detailed a strong vision for public schools and the public sector—one that steers clear of derision and division as it charts a new course toward well-resourced institutions, effective community connections, and solid school strategies forged in partnership with educators on the frontline.

The presumptive Democratic nominee flatly rejected any effort to return to top-down reform. Real school improvement, she insisted, is something that requires the voices, talent and buy-in of professionals who do the work every day.

“I want to thank you for being one of the essential partners for everything we need to do to move the country in the right direction,” Clinton declared to enthusiastic applause. “I want to say right from the outset that I’m with you.

“When I’m president, you will have a partner in the White House, and you will always have a seat at the table.”

More>>

Rutgers hikes tuition for 2016-17 school year

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — Tuition and fees for Rutgers University’s undergraduate students in New Brunswick will increase 1.7 percent, or about $241 this fall, the lowest price hike in five years at New Jersey’s state university.

[…]

But David Hughes, president of Rutgers’ faculty union, said Rutgers shouldn’t be content with a lower increase than other universities. As one of the most expensive state universities in the nation, Rutgers should be trying to lower its price, he said.

“Really the only comparison that matters, and the only one you need to consider, is whether the board is doing as much as it can do to make Rutgers affordable or doing less than it can do,” Hughes said.

Mariah Wood, a junior majoring in labor and employment relations and philosophy, urged the board not to approve the tuition increase. She struggles to pay her bills now and worries she won’t be able to pay off her college loans after graduation, she said.

“It’s really demoralizing to look at my decision to go to college as a mistake,” Wood said.

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Ballot Question On Pension Payments Gets Dragged Into TTF Wrangle

By John Reitmeyer

Deadline nears for putting new pension payments on November ballot, but impasse between Christie and Sweeney on transportation funding gets in the way

A statewide ballot question that would require increasing payments into New Jersey’s grossly underfunded public-employee pension system has now been dragged into the debate over renewing the state Transportation Trust Fund. Senate President Stephen Sweeney fears the state won’t be able to fund the bigger payments if the sales tax is also cut this year, which is part of Gov. Chris Christie’s solution for the TTF.

Public-worker unions enthusiastically back the proposal to amend the state constitution, which calls for more robust state pension contributions, and they remain confident it will pass the Senate one more time, which is the last step needed to put the ballot question before voters this fall. In fact, ads backed by the New Jersey Education Association in support of funding the pension system are already airing on television as a state deadline for getting questions on the ballot is now less than three weeks away.

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AFT Adjunct Faculty Caucus Elects New Leaders

AFT Adjunct Faculty Caucus
(left to right):
President. Bill Lipkin (NJ)
Vice President. Geoffrey Johnson (CA)
Secretary. Jenny Shanker (PA)
Member at large. Arnie Korotkin (NJ)
Treasurer. Leonard Winogora (NJ)

Election 2016: Get Active, Get Involved Aug. 11 in New Brunswick

elections matter

Join your colleagues for a free workshop for AFT leaders, activists and members who want to learn more and work on this election.

Tentative Agenda

  • What’s at Stake Nationally?
  • NJ Ballot Initiatives
  • Pension funding

How You Can Help

  • Voter Registration
  • Vote by Mail
  • Phone Banking
  • Labor Walks
  • Member to Member Contacts

When
Thursday, August 11, 2016
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Where
Cook Campus Center, Multipurpose Room BC
50 Biel Road, New Brunswick, NJ

Light Refreshments

RSVP
Limited space is available.  Reservation required:
Email Krista Sweeney or call 732-661-9393

Download printable flier

Member Activism Supports Increase in Eligibility For Overtime Pay

When AFTNJ Secretary Lucye Millerand recognized that President Obama’s 2014 executive order to more than double the ceiling for overtime eligibility would mean significant changes for workers she sprang into action. Millerand spearheaded a petition and outreach campaign within her administrative staff union at Rutgers University generating over 120 comments through the Department of Labor’s public comment period.After two years of review, the Department of Labor put forth the new rule, with a salary threshold of $47,476 – double the present threshold. The final salary threshold is less than the $50,400 in the administration’s proposal last June, but twice the current level of $23,660 a year, which has been unchanged for more than a decade, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Employer groups in the non-profit and higher education sectors insisted this would do terrible damage. When the National Employment Law Project reached out to AFT to organize a briefing for Senate staff on June 30 to set the record straight, Millerand was the natural choice to speak for AFT.

Millerand addressed the misperception spread by some college presidents that overtime for staff would lead to higher tuition for students:

“I started at Rutgers in 1980, earning $8,000 a year assisting in the library’s cataloging area. I often worked overtime on Saturday mornings, and that little bump helped me pay rent and school fees as I finished my bachelor’s degree. Let’s be clear and recognize that the growth in lower and middle-level staff in higher education is the result of the split of the faculty into a well-paid full-time, tenure-track minority, and an underpaid adjunct majority who have few administrative duties.

We have already saved our universities money by turning so much of the advising, research, outreach and administrative duties over to staff. Tuition didn’t go down over the last 30 years, and it won’t go up when the cataloging assistant of today gets her four hours of overtime for working a Saturday morning.“

Higher education industry groups joined employer efforts to characterize the increase as “too high” by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources and groups like the Society for Human Resources Management continue to advocate for legislation to derail the increase.

Such efforts are historically part of employers’ efforts to suppress wages to maximize control over resources, according to Millerand who pointed to the history of the creation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to a time when employers paid workers as little as possible, many less than $1 per day.

According to Peter Cole in Time, prior to the FLSA, the United States was a nation in which workers, including children, “labored ten to 12 hours, six days a week.”

Millerand hopes the rule change will ease the ongoing battle at Rutgers University, where the school frequently refuses to pay overtime despite a contract that demands it. URA members have had to file grievances just to get their already-earned wages, she said. So far, they’ve won a total of $225,000 in back pay.

Lucye Millerand at the Dirksen Senate office building on June 30

Lucye Millerand at the Dirksen Senate office building on June 30

AFTNJ Members’ Comments to DOL
We need this badly. I need this badly. Currently, I’m considered NL (exempt from overtime) and that means I’m expected to answer every after hours business e-mail or call from someone in administration or even an applicant. Including working weekend events or generating data for reports on weekends or late night afterhours.
50k is still not enough.
(AT)

It’s important to adopt a minimum salary of $1,000 per week to be on par with the economy and the regions where most of us live and work.
(DS)

The threshold has not kept up with inflation. And, like everything else, it should.
(TO)

School Funding Forum Brings Statewide Education Groups Together

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney joined with statewide education organizations today for a roundtable discussion on the school funding reform plan that would provide full funding for all school districts in New Jersey, a proposal that would help provide equity and opportunity for all of the state’s schoolchildren.

Trenton Education Roundtable

Cathy Lindenbaum, NJPTA;Patrick Fletcher, NJ Assoc. of School Administrators; Patricia Wright, NJPSA; Michael Vrancik, NJSBA; Donna Chiera, AFTNJ; Senator Sweeney; Melanie Schulz, NJ Assoc. of School Administrators; Sharon Seyler, NJ School Boards Association Judy Savage, NJ Council of County Vocational – Technical Schools; Betsy Ginsburg, Garden State Coalition of Schools; David Sciarra, Education Law Center; Morganne Firmstone, JerseyCAN; Sharon Krengel, Education Law Center.

Seeking to remedy a school funding system that underfunds 80 percent of New Jersey’s school districts, the legislation authored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz has already been approved by the Senate Education Committee. The bill, S-2372, would create a special commission to develop a school funding reform plan to bring all districts to full funding within five years.

The legislative proposal, to fully fund the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, would bring all the state’s school districts to full funding within five years, correcting the current practice that underfunds 80 percent of New Jersey’s school systems.

“This is a plan that aims to bring equal opportunity for all of New Jersey’s school children,” said Senator Sweeney. “We want every school district to have the support needed to provide a quality education for all students throughout the state. This is about equity that accounts for the very real differences between what children in different areas experience so that our schoolchildren are provided the knowledge and the tools needed to succeed in today’s economy.”

More>>

See also>>

Union County College Adjunct Faculty Speak

Adjunct faculty at Union County College speak out about a lack of respect from school management. United Adjunct Faculty of NJ asked members for their opinions and read responses at the June BOT meeting.

Call For Shared Governance at Union County College

Faculty speak out at Union County College BOT meeting after the school is sanctioned by AAUP for a lack of shared governance.

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