Nearly 200 school operations staff join Newark Teachers Union to improve education for students
NEWARK—Seeking stability in annual appointments and inclusion in district-wide bargaining, 189 Newark Public Schools’ workers have voted to join their peers as members of the 4,000-strong Newark Teachers Union.
The new cohort includes operations managers and assistants, community engagement specialists, family advocates, partnership and transition coordinators and data analysts.
They voted yes to win more resources and a better education for kids and more consistent policies and benefits, according to NTU President John M. Abeigon. He said: “We are proud of our members’ contributions to improving education in Newark and see the vote of these workers as recognition that they want to support our collective effort. We welcome the participation of these new members who work in vital roles in our schools and collaborate with students, parents and the community.”
New Jersey’s Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) certified the majority vote and issued a ruling October 31 rejecting Newark Public Schools arguments against recognizing the new members’ right to join a union.
In a 19-page ruling, Daisy B. Barreto of PERC’s, discounted the district’s claim that members were managerial, confidential or lacked a community of interest: “The petitioned-for employees share with unit employees the common goal and mission of promoting and improving the education of students.”
American Federation of Teachers New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera said “wall-to-wall” union recognition of workers in a district is beneficial, and would lead to improved internal communication and collaboration. “Having consistent policies and benefits for workers will help as Newark moves to local control. We congratulate these new members on their collective decision to join the union family.”
Operations managers and assistants oversee important programs, including free and reduced lunch. Family advocates facilitate children’s school readiness; partnership and transition coordinators advise teachers, students and staff about best practices in career and college planning and data analysts track student performance.
The NTU filed authorization for representation cards with PERC in mid-August. Most of the workers are on 12-month schedules.
The Newark Teachers Union represents approximately 4,000 teachers, classroom aides and clerks. Learn more at http://newark.nj.aft.org/