Negotiations Update for January 8, 2018
Tonight the Union and Paterson School District met for the second time with a state-appointed mediator, Mr. Anthony Bagliarie. The meeting took place at the District’s offices located at 90 Delaware Avenue. I am unhappy to report that the parties met from 4:00 PM until 6:38 PM.
1. John McEntee, Jr.
2. Charles Ferrer
3. Shaye Brown
4. Lakresha Hodge
5. Nikki Baker
6. Rhima Bandelli
7. Javier Fresse
8. Nicole Jackson
9. Todd Pipkin
10. Mary Chowhan
11. Sasha Wolf, NJEA, Field Representative
12. Ron Bivona, NJEA Field Representative
13. Sharon Milano, NJEA Consultant
1. Bob Murray, Esq.
2. Luis Rojas, Assistant Superintendent
Our team was angered that members of the District’s team failed to properly prepare for tonight’s mediation session. It was evident within the first 30 minutes of tonight’s meeting that the District did not share in the same sentiment to negotiate in good faith. Candidly, the entire Union team left at 6:30 PM believing that the District was purposely stalling and going through the motions. Without a doubt, if any employee prepared for h/her teaching lesson in the same manner by which the District prepared for this evening, we would all be rated “Ineffective” and be placed on a Corrective Action Plan for inefficiency.
Many members have expressed a desire for me to be more specific about what the District is seeking in their proposals. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide our members with specific details as to what the District is trying to accomplish at the bargaining table. However, as you could imagine, ALL of the District’s proposals do not reward our employees for their time, dedication, and or experience in the Paterson School System. More than that, however, District proposals that we are fighting against would have a devastating impact on the contract and benefits that we currently enjoy.
The mediator has provided the Union with a third date of March 8, 2018. While the mediator cannot compel the District to be prepared, he has informed us that he has once again provided the District with “homework.” Hopefully, this time, someone from the District’s team will make the time to prepare for March 8, 2018.
On behalf of the entire Union negotiations team, I thank all members for participating in amazing displays of solidarity at your worksites today. Your pictures, videos, and building chants lifted the spirits of our team, and only strengthened our resolve to FINISH THE JOB!
You have my word that this Union will NOT REST until a contract is signed, sealed, and delivered to the membership.
John McEntee, Jr., President
Negotiations Update for October 27, 2017
As you have been informed by the Union, the negotiations team has started the mediation process for a successor contract. Last night, was our first meeting with mediator Anthony Bagliore, who was assigned as a neutral by the Public Employee Relations Commission.
Present for the Board: Robert Murray and Luis Rojas.
Present for the Union: John McEntee, Charles Ferrer, Mary Chowhan, Ryan Cohen, Todd Pipken, Pamela DiPrima, Nikki Baker, Mary Landowski, and Rhima Bandelli.
Present for NJEA: Sasha Wolf, Ron Bivona, and Sharon Milano.
Start time 4:00 PM End Time 7:30 PM
Last night’s meeting left our team feeling disrespected, frustrated, and undervalued. Our team members entered last night’s meeting with one goal: SETTLE THE CONTRACT. Unfortunately, at the conclusion of last night’s meeting, our team felt that the District was unprepared and unwilling to resolve the contract. The members of our team gave up time with their families, after-school jobs, etc.. so that they could meet to represent your interests at the bargaining table. Acting Superintendent Shafer never even bothered to show up.
As a result, I must report to you that the parties did not make ANY progress during our first mediation session. The next step in the mediation process is to wait for the mediator to send the parties available dates for the next meeting.
Our goals remain to ensure that all employees advance on salary guide for every year of a prospective contract. We are also trying to thwart the District’s efforts to diminish the benefits that you have fought so hard to achieve over the last fifty (50) years.
At this juncture, the P.E.A. is has empowered our Negotiations Action Team, led by P.E.A. 2nd Vice President Lakresha Hodge, to begin mobilization. In the coming days, weeks, you will again be receiving important information from Lakresha and her team. Please take a moment to ensure that your building delegate(s) and the P.E.A. have your correct contact information.
Every day that a settlement is not reached, our members suffer. We must ensure that the acting superintendent and the board of education take this process seriously and negotiate a fair and equitable contract. We will do whatever is necessary to reach a conclusion on this issue. There is an old saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Make no mistake about it, this effort is going to take ALL 3,200 of our brothers and sisters ready to stand STRONG, UNITED, and READY TO FIGHT together to let the District finally recognize that WE MEAN BUSINESS!
Negotiations Update for October 4, 2017
On October 26, 2017, the Union and the District will be having their first mediation session. The mediator, Anthony Bagliore has been assigned by the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) to assist the parties in reaching a contract. While the mediator will attempt to bring the process to a conclusion, the fact remains that Governor Christie, and his appointed education commissioner, are holding the negotiations process hostage. The Union negotiations team is fighting extremely hard for a fair contract. At this moment, salary increases, and health benefits remain major hurdles. Our team’s goal is to ensure that every member is able to advance on the salary guide for every year of the contract. We also recognize that members at maximum also deserve a fair raise as well.
Obtaining a fair contract is the responsibility of every member of this Union. We all have a role to play in this process. It is important that we show the District that the 3,200 members of the PEA will not back down until a fair and equitable contract settlement is reached.
Under the direction of P.E.A. 2nd Vice President Lakresha Hodge, the Contract Action Team (CAT) is organizing and planning Union activities and events as soon as possible. Please do your part and volunteer to join the committee. Every worksite should be represented. If you are interested in joining, please email Lakresha at email@example.com as soon as possible.
In the coming weeks, you will begin to receive CAT emails from Lakresha Hodge. All emails will be sent to your personal account seeking member participation. The negotiations team requests that all members participate in every action.
The more members that participate, the clearer message that we send to the District that the Union will not rest until our bargaining goals are achieved.
John McEntee, Jr., President
Negotiations Update For September 8, 2017
Many of you have been asking about how recent court decisions affect our ability to have all employees move up on the salary guide this year, despite not having a successor contract agreement.
In recent court decisions regarding police unions in Atlantic County and Bridgewater Township, the courts upheld that for police and fire no statute or regulation prevents that classification of employees from negotiating language to move up one step on the salary guide after the expiration of the current agreement.
Unfortunately, the law as it pertains to public education employees is still unsettled. Currently, there is no authority by either the Public Employment Relations Commission or the courts that would allow the PEA to move every employee up one step on the salary guide for the 17-18 school year without a successor contract agreement.
We are in discussions with our attorney’s and are still considering our options. We are still in the process of negotiations with the District and will certainly keep you updated with any developments that may occur.
John McEntee, Jr., President