The Public Employment Relations Commission’s (PERC’S) appointed mediators met separately with both the ACEA’s and Board teams on September 20th. Unfortunately, no progress was made. It is crucial that we stay united during this difficult time. The ACEA’s Action committee will be planning activities to help ensure we obtain a contract as soon as possible. It is imperative that all members participate in these actions.
Opt Out Crisis
The withholding of eligible members’ opt out checks was not only a violation of our contract, it was also a violation of law. A grievance was immediately filed. Due to the conflicting statements Interim Superintendent Spaventa made regarding the illegal decision to withhold the payments, our NJEA attorney, Steven Cohen contacted the State Monitor via a letter dated September 23, 2016. Mr. Cohen asked the monitor specific questions, including if she directed the payments not be made to eligible members and if she was not responsible, he asked her to identify the party (ies) responsible for making this decision. Mr. Cohen requested that the State Monitor submit written responses to him no later than the close end of the business day on Tuesday, September 27th. Mr. Cohen further advised the State Monitor if that he did not receive a response by the aforementioned deadline, that he would institute an action in the New Jersey Superior Court to restrain her from maintaining the directive and to compel the Board to make the opt out payments retroactive to September 14, 2016.
Mr. Cohen received a response from the State Monitor’s attorney on September 27th. The State Monitor has finally taken responsibility for the directive that that the Board withhold the opt out checks. She contends that she did so based upon her claim that the District is in the midst of a fiscal crisis. The ACEA’s legal options are being evaluated and are under serious consideration by our NJEA attorney, but for strategic reasons, no additional details are going to be provided at this time.
In the meantime, we will also continue to follow through with the grievance procedure. Mr. Spaventa denied the level 1 opt out grievance and it is now at the Board level. Pursuant to the contract, a Board Review must be held during the month of October. We will continue to keep you informed every step of the way!
Remember, our contract is still in effect! If there are any violations, you must report them immediately to your Senior Building Representatives. We will continue to fight for our members’ rights!
Register for Fall Focus!
They are making some changes with this year’s Fall Focus, starting with simplifying the registration process. Instead of county and local associations filling out and mailing in paperwork, each member will simply register online at njea.org/fallfocus. It only takes a minute or two and it works from your computer, tablet or phone. Attendees will be asked for their meal choices and to choose one of four discussion topics: ESSA, Privatization/Corporatization of Public Education, Chapter 78 relief, and pension funding.
The second big change is that they are instituting two windows of registration. The first window allows county and local presidents and their designated members to register. During the second window of registration, invitations will go out to the general membership of any county. The goal in opening registration is to make sure as many members as possible can attend these discussions and become new activists.
Leaders from each county will be receiving their invitations, via email, approximately one month before the date of the county’s Fall Focus meeting. The final registration deadline is seven days before your county’s Fall Focus. Please make sure you register well ahead of time. The registration deadline for all attendees to our county’s Fall Focus is seven days before.
All staff attending any Fall Focus meetings should use the link to register.
For Atlantic County, the event is at The Carriage House on October 19, 2016.
During these turbulent times in Atlantic City, it is crucial that all members stay united and informed. If you have not already signed up for text alerts, text ACEA to 55469. Attend your building’s ten minute meetings and check our website at www.atlanticcityea.org for updates on the financial crisis in our city and district. I also urge you to attend Board Meetings to keep informed. The Board meeting schedule is on the district’s website at www.acboe.org.
We have begun negotiations for our next contract. The ACEA will continue to inform you each time we meet with the Board and will give you a report after each meeting. As you know, due to the team’s confidentiality agreement, we cannot give you specific details until we reach a tentative agreement. If you have any questions about the negotiations process, contact Gary Melton, Negotiations Chair and Senior Vice President at gmelton <at> njea.org.
Knowledge is Power!
Preparing for our first Door-To-Door event, meeting and listening to our members to serve them better.
ACEA members and NJEA staff working together on our Door-To-Door event.
Our Door-To-Door Leadership!