Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. testified with its community and statewide allies at the School Development Authority (SDA) board meeting to call on the SDA to provide full funding for new school construction and much needed safety modifications for all of New Jersey’s schools.
In 2008, the New Jersey State Legislature set aside $3.9 Billion for new schools and renovations. In 2010, a “stop work order” halted construction projects on 52 approved new schools and hundreds of health and safety projects in existing schools. In 2011, the SDA issued a priority repairs requests. Out of the over 700 requests that arrived, only less that 10% were listed for consideration by the SDA.
“For our schools to be successful, educators must have the resources and support they require, including up-to-date teaching materials and well maintained facilities,” said Charles N. Hall, Jr. Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. Chair. “Sadly, this is not the case in all of New Jersey’s schools.”
Tragically, this is symptomatic of a larger issue in school funding within New Jersey. This year’s proposed education budget doesn’t even come close to complying with our state’s legally mandated funding formula. The currently proposed budget will make up for at best a minimal increase for nearly 200 school districts. Camden’s school district lost more than $5 million dollars and Asbury Park absorbed a 4.2% reduction in school aid. Many of these schools will still fall short of returning to funding levels from two years ago under the current proposed budget.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc., standing with our progressive community allies are demanding that all schools receive full and needed funding. Under-funded school districts mean staff layoffs, cuts to programs, and lack of required school maintenance like those desperately needed in Trenton.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. is a non-partisan grassroots coalition comprised of labor, religious, community, civil rights, and student, women, and retirees groups to engage New Jersey’s communities in the democratic process. For more information on the coalition or any of its ongoing efforts, contact Community Outreach Coordinator Alex Gomez at (609) 414-6566 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The negotiating committee recommends three (3) year deal with needed improvements:
- All employees will now get three (3) personal days and three (3) sick days as a new benefit.
- The vacation schedule improved from one (1) year, one (1) week to a new schedule of one (1) week after six (6) months and two (2) weeks after two (2) years.
- The employees will now be given uniforms and a work belt.
- Wages – Warehouse workers and driver assistants in the first year will receive wage adjustments ranging from minimum wage to $7.25 to a minimum of $9.00 an hour for all workers.
Drivers’ daily salaries were adjusted a minimum of 5% and in the cases of long term employees and consideration for merit, an adjustment as high as 13% was received.
We have established a starting rate for warehouse and assistant drivers of $8.25 an hour with adjustments to be made based on any increases in the minimum wage.
In year 2, all employees will receive a 5% increase.
In year 3, all employees will receive a 5% increase.
We have an agreement with the Employer on a contract reopener to discuss medical benefits on October 22, 2013 for the workers. The agreement would allow the workers to strike.
Finally, we defined the work week so that the Employer could not arbitrarily send workers home to avoid overtime.
This is just another example of why unions are necessary. It took the Union to make the Employer to simply do the right thing.
At the request of our members from the Township of New
Milford, we would like to highlight the worker of our outstanding public sector
business agent, Jasper Parnell.
The war on public sector works has been well-documented, but
at the request of our members from the Borough of New Milford, we would like to
call attention to our the work of our own defender of public sector workers,
Despite intransigence from the newly elected mayor, Jasper stood strong
alongside the white collar union members.
After 11 months of intense negotiation a new 3-year
collective bargaining agreement was reached between the Borough of New Milford
and Local 108’s Public Employees Division, representing the borough’s white-collar
Local 108 and the borough started negotiations in November
2011. The borough presented outrageous proposals to the Union. Current
employees have from 2 to 5 weeks vacation according to length of employment,
with an additional 15 sick days, 13 holidays & 3 personal days. The borough proposed to eliminate all
these days along with longevity increments and offered a total of 25 flexible
days off, which was completely unacceptable. After 11 months in negotiation we
filed for mediation with Public Relations Commission in June 2012.
Mediation started in August and ended in September 2012.
At the conclusion we were able to retain all vacation, sick,
holiday and personal time we had in the former contract along with longevity
The new C.B.A. is for a period of three years with a salary
increase in 2% per year retroactive to January 1st, 2012. Go Jasper!