Adjunct IssuesAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsLabor NewsNewsPensionsPre-K to 12 NewsRutgers University

AFTNJ Activist Conference recap: adjunct unemployment, Rutgers LEARN and more

A captive crowd of PreK-12 and higher education faculty and staff gathered Aug. 16 for the AFTNJ Activist Conference at the Rutgers Labor Education Center in New Brunswick.

“If I had to pick a theme for this meeting today,” AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said in her opening remarks, “a lot of it’s going to be political [and have to do with] where we’re going to be in the next couple of years.”…

Read More
AFTNJ NewsNewsNJITStudent debt

Chiera attends Menendez roundtable on PSLF

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera on Aug. 1 was among the participants in a roundtable discussion about public service loan forgiveness held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

The roughly 45-minute event was led by Sen. Bob Menendez, who in his opening remarks mentioned the PSLF Payment Completion Fairness Act, a bipartisan bill he’s behind that was introduced in late April.…

Read More

Murphy signs S3406, enacting fiscal accountability measures in higher ed

Gov. Phil Murphy recently followed through on his pledge in January to sign S3406 once it crossed his desk.

The legislation requires public institutions of higher education in New Jersey to submit an annual fiscal monitoring report, and it authorizes the secretary of higher education to appoint a state monitor of these institutions.

“Promoting fiscal accountability among our public institutions of higher education will not only benefit students and employees, but will also help the schools themselves avoid financial crises that could put their entire operation at risk,” Murphy said in a press release issued July 24. “This…

Read More
AAUPAFTNJ NewsBloomfield CollegeLabor NewsMontclair State UniversityNews

Chiera, Wolfson testify in favor of Bloomfield-Montclair State merger bill

With New Jersey’s Assembly Higher Education Committee about to vote on A5470 (the Bloomfield College-Montclair State University merger bill), AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera and AFT Local 1904 President Rich Wolfson on June 5 testified in favor of the legislation, which was recently amended to remove anti-labor language.

“This move — bringing Bloomfield and Montclair together — is a statement, and we’re putting students first,” Chiera said at the State House Annex in Trenton.…

Read More
AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsNew Jersey City UniversityNews

Weingarten, Chiera and Hildner renew the call for state to fund NJCU

As the New Jersey Legislature reconvenes to finalize the state’s fiscal year 2024 budget, AFT leaders are reminding the state Senate and Assembly about the urgent need to address New Jersey City University’s well-documented financial crisis.

“New Jersey City University hands first-generation students their diplomas and gives them a shot at a secure, middle-class life,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a press release issued June 1.…

Read More
AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsCOVID-19Labor NewsNews

AFTNJ welcomes staff representative Jennie Shanker

The AFTNJ on June 1 welcomed its new staff representative, Jennie Shanker, who takes over for Joe Norris.

Organized labor and education have been constants in her life. She is the daughter of the late Albert Shanker, who was AFT president for more than two decades. In her 20-plus years of teaching, Jennie Shanker held various positions at several higher education institutions, among them adjunct associate professor at University of the Arts, Moore College of Art & Design, and Tyler School of Art & Architecture, all in Philadelphia.…

Read More
AFT NewsAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsLabor NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

AFTNJ 2023 Legislative Conference in pictures

Gov. Phil Murphy noted the need for teacher recruitment and retention in New Jersey. Sen. Andrew Zwicker, who sits on the Senate Higher Education Committee, said the state has an obligation to fund higher education. And Sen. Vin Gopal, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, expressed his appreciation for educators and pledged his support.

They were among the many elected officials who spoke May 20 at the AFTNJ 2023 Legislative Conference in East Brunswick.…

Read More

WEC webinar has tips for better workplace ventilation

The New Jersey Work Environment Council is set to present the webinar “Building Ventilation and Minimizing Exposure to COVID-19 and Airborne Diseases” on May 31.

Dave Newman, who for 18 years served as the staff industrial hygienist for the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, will be the guest speaker. Topics of discussion will include the fundamentals of building ventilation and the steps that can be taken in your workplace to cut down on transmission of airborne viruses.…

Read More
AFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsNewsPre-K to 12 News

Chiera talks public education’s past, present and future at ELC event

On May 4, the Education Law Center marked its 50th anniversary with the panel “Promise and Perils in Public Education: Past, Present, and Future” at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.

Among the panelists was AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. When asked by panel moderator and ELC Executive Director Robert Kim how the teaching profession has changed, she said that in the years since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools transitioned from “teaching all subjects [and] looking at the whole child” to “if it’s not tested, it’s not important.” …

Read More
Adjunct IssuesAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsNews

Chiera closes N.J. Legislature’s meeting on state of higher ed with call for funds, oversight

For many months, whenever she’s talked about higher education in New Jersey, AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera has emphasized what’s lacking on the fiscal side: transparency, accountability and oversight (TAO).

On May 1, Chiera spent several minutes on TAO and other topics during the N.J. State Legislature’s Special Meeting on Higher Education at the State House Annex in Trenton.…

Read More
AFTNJ NewsLabor NewsNews

Murphy signs bill expanding access to UI for workers during labor disputes

Gov. Phil Murphy on April 24 signed A4772/S3215, which addresses some loopholes that have affected striking workers and others in labor disputes from receiving access to unemployment insurance benefits.

Taking effect immediately and applying to all UI benefit claims filed on or after Jan. 1, 2022, A4772/S3215 will:

• Permit UI benefits to be distributed to workers during an employer lockout even if a strike did not immediately precede the lockout

• Decrease the timeframe from 30 days to 14 days following a strike that UI benefits are disqualified, while allowing for benefits to be paid immediately regardless of the timeframe if replacement workers are hired on either a permanent or temporary basis

• Clarify that there is no disqualification if an issue in the labor dispute is the failure of the employer to comply with an agreement between the parties

“Workers and their families often struggle financially when they go on strike to protest injustice in the workplace,” said Charlie Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.…

Read More
AAUPAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsLabor NewsNewsRutgers University

Rutgers faculty strike suspended; contract framework has ‘profound victories’

Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union and AAUP-BHSNJ members have suspended their strike, which began April 10 and affected five days of classes across all Rutgers University campuses.

They were due to resume working April 17, days after their respective union leaders and Rutgers management agreed to a framework for new contracts.

An April 15 message from the three unions noted the securing of “profound victories” in the framework, among them raises for adjuncts, grad workers and postdocs as well as greater faculty control over teaching conditions.…

Read More
AAUPAFTNJ NewsHigher Ed NewsNewsRutgers University

Historic strike by Rutgers faculty unions shakes up university, stirs legislators

On April 10, after working nearly 290 days without a contract, three Rutgers University faculty unions went on strike, marking the first teaching walkout in school history.

Union members and supporters participated in rallies and picket lines at the three main Rutgers campuses through April 12 as union leaders negotiated each day with the RU administration in Trenton.…

Read More