Teacher-rights watchdog

Tina Pappas, Montclair Local

Former Mayor and present councilman Robert Russo was once arrested–but for a good cause.

As a Newark teacher, he led the 1970 strike for fair living wages and was arrested with 200 other teachers during a demonstration downtown marching against what he referred to as “a corrupt city government and board of education.”…

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Bill Would Change NJ Payouts For Unused Sick Time

By Phil Gregory, WBGO

[…]

Public employee unions oppose the legislation, saying it would violate collective bargaining agreements.

Donna Chiera, the president of the American Federation of Teachers in New Jersey, says the sick day payout at the end of their career amounts to a savings account for public workers who don’t have big salaries.

“Because when you retire on a pension and social security, it’s money that you need to lean on.”…

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Chiera Testifies Against Cut In Retirement Benefits

Legislation that would further limit collectively bargained retirement benefits advanced Wednesday in Trenton, despite testimony from Donna M. Chiera on behalf of AFTNJ and representatives from CWANJ, AFSCME, NJEA, FOP and PBA.

The Assembly bill, A-1851 , is sponsored by Education chair Pam Lampitt and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. The Senate companion, S-2578, is sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.…

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Ready to Work For A Cleaner, Greener New Jersey?

Delegates to AFTNJ’s 2018 convention resolved to advocate for environmentally-friendly measures to increase use of public transportation in the Garden State. The committee is now forming and chair Dan Aronson, economics professor from Raritan Valley Community College-AFT, is looking for members to get involved.

Aronson has been actively researching and writing about the potential for common ground between progressives and conservatives on labor and environmental issues.…

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Former principal Roger Leon chosen as Newark’s new superintendent

By Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat

Former principal and veteran administrator Roger Leon has been chosen as Newark’s new schools chief — its first since the city regained control of its schools.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the school board chose Leon — a Newark native backed by local elected officials — over two candidates with extensive experience in other large urban districts, but whose outsider status put them at a disadvantage.…

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State Tuition Programs Now Open for Dreamers

New Jersey Dreamers—students brought to the country as minors without documentation—will now have access to state aid at public and private colleges and universities. Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation May 9 after more than a decade of activism from immigration advocates.

“We can all rest easier today knowing that more students will have greater access to a college education,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, an AFT member as professor at Kean University and chair of the Latino Action Network Foundation.…

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Poor People’s Campaign relaunches

Thousands of people gathered in 35 state capitals, including Trenton, across the United States May 14, renewing an effort started by Martin Luther King Jr. to eradicate poverty, fight income inequality and end systemic racism. Led by the Rev. William Barber, the Poor People’s Campaign event kicked off a six-week schedule of nonviolent actions including rallies, organizing, civil disobedience and voter mobilization.…

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Gearing Up For A Run For Office?

In northern New Jersey, Montclair State University-AFT adjunct professor Mary Wallace sits on the Fairlawn Board of Education. To the south, Camden County educator Tony DePrince is a Borough of Magnolia Council member. And in Perth Amboy, paraprofessional Helmin Caba also sits on the City Council. Throughout the rest of the state, several AFT members and hundreds of union allies occupy elected positions at the municipal, county, state and federal levels.…

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Kim Snags Two Union Endorsements

By David Wildstein

The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) and Healthcare Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) have endorsed Democrat Andy Kim for Congress in New Jersey’s 3rd district.

“Andy Kim is committed to stopping the attacks on health and social security programs that keep Americans healthy and for improving education for future generations,” said Donna M.…

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Six Q&As On Earned Sick Days With Karen White

With a bill signing by Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday, May 2, New Jersey becomes the tenth state with an earned sick and safe days leave law, furthering a nationwide trend that has been gathering steam for the past several years. Karen White, Director, Policy Analysis and Community Engagement, Center for Women and Work (CWW), Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations explains the critical need for the new law and how it will provide some fairness for more than a million New Jersey workers.…

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Michael Savoia: In Memoriam

Perth Amboy Federation Treasurer Michael Savoia, a retired history teacher and active substitute, died after seeking treatment at Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Brunswick in early May. Savoia previously served as Treasurer of the then-named NJ State Federation of Teachers.

Savoia was a fixture in Perth Amboy union activities and served multiple terms as Treasurer for the local.…

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