Solidarity aplenty at Local 1796’s layoff protest rally

Labor leaders and union members from across New Jersey joined students from William Paterson University on Nov. 19 for AFT Local 1796’s layoff protest rally on the Wayne campus in front of the Marion E. Shea Center for Performing Arts.

Here are excerpts from select rally speakers:

“Faculty and staff are not being laid off due to their ineffectiveness or inefficiency but because of inadequate state funding for William Paterson as a minority-serving institution, on top of eight years of poor financial and academic decisions by the previous president and board of trustees, who were unable to increase enrollment and retention and generate alternative revenue sources.”…

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Final push by AFT and N.J. labor precedes Murphy’s slim win

A few hours before New Jersey polling locations closed, AFT President Randi Weingarten was the closing speaker at a Nov. 2 rally supporting Gov. Phil Murphy at IBEW Local 456 in North Brunswick.

“Everybody’s gone through a lot of you-know-what during COVID,” Weingarten said. “There’s anxiety all over the place. … But what you’ve had in New Jersey [is] leadership that has our back: leadership that says safety is important, jobs are important, making sure we get back to normal is important, but lifting people up.…

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Delegate Assembly confirms new VPs Vachon, Carr

The AFTNJ Delegate Assembly by vote on Oct. 25 confirmed Dr. Todd Vachon and Timothy D. Carr as vice presidents for higher education and prekindergarten to 12, respectively.

Vachon (above left), a member of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, is an assistant professor of practice, labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University-New Brunswick as well the director for Rutgers LEARN.…

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Weingarten, Chiera speak at Murphy-LD 16 rally

AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera were among the speakers Oct. 16 at the Legislative District 16 Canvass Kickoff in Princeton, attended by Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate candidate Andrew Zwicker, and Assembly candidates Roy Freiman and Sadaf Jaffer.

Weingarten, the closing speaker, spent a few minutes addressing recent comments former Gov. Chris Christie made when asked on TV about threats of violence against educators and school boards.…

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Murphy humbled and honored by AFTNJ’s endorsement

On behalf of its leadership, AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera on Aug. 24 formally announced the union federation’s endorsement of Gov. Phil Murphy for reelection during a gathering held at City Hall Circle in Perth Amboy.

“Rights for workers, rights for voters, rights for immigrants: That is what Gov. Murphy stood for and stands for,” said Chiera, after pointing out Perth Amboy’s connection to the Bill of Rights and its replica of the Liberty Bell.…

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HELC members stress safety concerns in latest AFTNJ-OSHE meeting

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera and Dr. Susanna Tardi, AFTNJ’s executive vice president/higher education, spoke at length Aug. 13 about faculty COVID-19 safety concerns at colleges and universities during a virtual meeting with New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.

Standing in once again for Secretary Dr. Brian Bridges was chief of staff Sandra Gilot West, who spent most of the roughly 50-minute meeting listening as Chiera, Tardi and other Higher Education Leadership Council members addressed key issues as the fall semester approaches.…

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AFTNJ, Chiera react to death of AFL-CIO’s Trumka

AFl-CIO President Richard Trumka has died at age 72, the union federation confirmed Aug. 5.

“We’re all devastated by the passing of our union brother AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “He was a visionary leader and a true champion of labor for the public and private sector. He never turned down an invitation to come to New Jersey to speak to our labor family.…

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O’Connell, Givan react to delayed Coalition of Rutgers Unions raises

The Coalition of Rutgers Unions recently started a petition addressed to Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway calling for the administration to pay deferred raises on time to faculty and staff.

“We demand that [Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness] Senior Vice President [Vivian] Fernández ensures that these raises are paid with the July 9th paychecks,” the petition says.…

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AFT throws support behind effort to repeal SALT

Two days after attending New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s Summer of SALT campaign kickoff in Woodland Park, AFT President Randi Weingarten on June 23 participated in a Washington, D.C., event in support of the Sherrill-led effort to repeal the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap that affects New Jersey and other high-tax states.

Also on hand was Rutgers University professor and Rutgers AAUP-AFT member Patrice Mareschal, who said the SALT cap has increased her taxes, adding that it is a “gut punch” to middle-class families.…

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Nowlan testifies for A5862; bill passed by Assembly Budget Committee

Some notable union figures testified June 22 at the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee meeting in support of A5862 (the Responsible Collective Negotiations Act, also known as the “Janus 2” bill), among them Patrick Nowlan, Rutgers AAUP-AFT’s executive director.

“Expanding the scope of bargaining actually allows us to be more creative in what we’re doing and increases collaboration,” Nowlan said to the committee.…

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Budget transparency, layoff registry among topics covered in latest AFTNJ-OSHE meeting

AFTNJ higher education leaders virtually met June 18 with New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, with chief of staff Sandra Gilot West standing in for Secretary Dr. Brian Bridges.

Dr. Susanna Tardi, AFTNJ’s executive vice president/higher education and a William Paterson University professor, asked most of the questions. Among them was, “At some colleges and universities, fiscal transparency is sorely lacking.…

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Murphy tackles tough questions from AFTNJ

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on June 14 virtually met with AFTNJ PreK-12 and higher education leaders to discuss the future of education in the state.

“I want to make sure I say this up front: I don’t take our partnership, your support for granted for one second, and I would love the opportunity to earn your endorsement for our reelection,” Murphy said in his opening comments.…

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Murphy signs bill with subcontracting protections for N.J.’s higher education workers

S2932/A4680, which provides subcontracting protections for workers at New Jersey’s public four-year institutions of higher education, was signed June 11 by Gov. Phil Murphy, his office said.

“Working collaboratively leads to results,” said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. “I appreciate the efforts of Senate President Steve Sweeney, a primary sponsor of this legislation, which gives workers at four-year colleges and universities the same protections as their colleagues in PreK to 12 and community colleges.…

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