By Kristie Cattafi, Staff Writer, Community News (Garfield Edition)

Garfield teachers returned to school last week with notification of a proposed new agreement, after working with an expired contract for a year.

“We reached a common ground with the district and members will vote to ratify the contract in September,” said Rob Barbier, high school English teacher and president of the Garfield Federation of Teachers. “This agreement reflects almost two years of difficult negotiations between the union and the board for a contract that expired June 2014.”

The contract expired on June 30, 2014. The largest impact without a contract due to the laws in New Jersey is not getting a raise, Barbier explained in May. He said on Jan. 1 the health insurance rate went up and they had to contribute more money without any salary increase.

In May they reached a “deadlock” and they sent out an impasse notice on May 11 after not hearing anything back from the administration.

“Earlier this year we declared an impasse in these contract negotiations because of the limits imposed by the board,” said Barbier. “Even then, we pledged to return to the table as soon as there could be forward progress and this agreement reflects a reasonable compromise reached the week before school started.”


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