Jail statistics public school employee strikes
Between 1967 and 2001, 850 public school employees were jailed for striking.
Local year of strike No. of people days served Notes
Woodbridge AFT 1967 2 30-90
Passaic City 1970 6 30-90
Newark AFT 1970 186 10-90
Jersey City 1970 20 10-30
Fair Lawn 1971 14 30
Newark AFT 1971 16 (unsure)
Freehold Regional 1972 11 30-45
Elmwood Park 1973 4 30
Long Branch 1974 12 2
Elizabeth 1975 4 2
Matawan 1977 35 2
106* 7 *community service
Willingboro 1977 10* 7 *community service
Brookdale Comm. College
Non-Academic Staff 1978 6 4
Camden 1978 17 up to 22
Plainfield 1978 8 7
Paterson 1979 15 2
Teaneck 1982 150 3
Middletown 2001 228 1-4
Total school employees jailed: 850 served between 5 – 10 years in jail.
Longest jail time: According to NJEA records, Nicholas D’Agostino spent the most time in jail – 90 days as a result of the Passaic Strike 1970.
Total number of strikes: 254 -- between 1946 - 2003 (18 were AFT or no affiliate - some strikes were NJEA/AFT combined)
First Strike Threat: 1919 -- The first known teacher strike threat in New Jersey occurred in Palmyra. No records exists that it was ever carried out.
First strike: 1946 -- Paterson NJEA/AFT – strike lasted 1 day
(Note: Most of the teachers in Paterson reported sick on the same day in February 1946. The same thing occurred in Hawthorne one year later.)
First multi-day strike: 1953 – Garfield (NJEA). The strike lasted 3 days.
The first fine: 1966 -- Newark (AFT) ($2700)
The first jailing: 1967 -- Woodbridge AFT 2 jailed (1 AFT rep for 2 months, and one teacher for 30 days.)
The first NJEA jailing: 1971 –- Jersey City (NJEA)
Tom Favia, Lou Scialli (deceased) and 20 other members of the JCEA went to jail on Nov. 22, 1971 for a strike that occurred in February 1970. They spent Thanksgiving in jail and were released on Dec. 21, 1971 just before Christmas.
Longest strike: 55 days -- Newark (AFT) 1971
25 days -- Hoboken (NJEA) 1975
Biggest Fine: $500,000 (1/2 million dollars) -- Hamilton (NJEA) Sept. 2000
Most jailed: 228 -- Middletown (NJEA) in 2001
Typical Length of strike: 1 day -- (83 of the 254 strikes)
Contract Imposition –this needs to be filled in based on latest developments in the legislature. Find out how many times school boards have imposed a contract. As of 2000 Manville strike, it was the 15th time in NJ history that it happened.
Strike History by Decade
Decade Number of Strikes
1962 - the NEA devised a procedure it called “sanctions.” The term covered any collective act by employees against the employer except a strike: work slowdowns and billboards critical of a school board. NJEA also experimented with “extreme sanctions.” instead of taking a strike vote, the local would condemn their district as an “unfit” place to teach, notifying NJEA and NEA of their action. The State and national associations would announce the condemnation, notifying members, college education departments, and teacher-placement agencies. It was considered unethical for a member to accept a teaching job in a sanctioned district.
1963 - NJEA’s first negotiations bill was introduced in the Legislature. Thus began the push to win negotiations and grievance rights for New Jersey’s public employees. After intensive lobbying by NJEA and other groups, the Legislature overrode the vote on Sept. 13, 1968, and, for the first time in New Jersey history, public employees had legislated bargaining rights. Called the Public Employment Relations Act, the new law required the employer to negotiate in good faith with the organization that represented the majority of its employees; used the broad definition of negotiable .The Act established the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to administer the law’s provisions.
1967 - Extreme Sanctions Union Beach school board voted not to rehire the president of the Union Beach Teachers Association and two other untenured teachers active in UBTA. 31 of the district’s 47 teachers tendered resignations effective two weeks before the end of the school year. Hundreds marched through the town to protest the school board’s firings. NJEA reported the action in the Association newspaper and sent notices to in surrounding districts; the presidents and placement directors of all teacher colleges in the surrounding states.
The New Jersey’s Supreme Court declared sanctions unconstitutional in the Weintraub decision. As a result of the New Jersey experience, the use of sanctions dwindled nationally and, by the 1970s, sanctions were in use no more.
1967 - NJEA conducted a Teacher Rights Rally in October of 1967 in Asbury Park’s Convention Hall and a second in May of 1970 in an armory in Elizabeth. The purpose was to demonstrate against sentences imposed on teachers who had violated court injunctions.
1968 - The Weintraub decision (which declared sanctions unconstitutional) angered many teachers and triggered the Teacher Rights Movement. In 1968, NJEA established a Teacher Rights Fund to aid school employees involved in strikes. This fund guaranteed that money would be raised to pay all legal fees, fines, and salary lost by school employees jailed because of a strike. The Fund also provided interest free loans to strikers.
1972 - NJEA conducted a year-long “Fair Play for Teachers” campaign in support of two specific legislative bills. One would grant teachers the limited right to strike. The other would strengthen PERC and give it the power to redress unfair labor practices. The campaign included a Fair Play rally at Asbury Park
1973 - after NJEA Vice President-elect (and Teacher’s Rights Committee chairperson) Paul Dimitriadis died while apparently recovering from open heart surgery, the fund was renamed the Dimitriadis Teacher Rights Fund.
1983 - Created a in interest free loan designed to help members in crisis district. Local must be in crisis 11 days to qualify for loan.
1932 – Early in 1932, local pressure for reduced salaries resulted in a legislative move to relax the Tenure Act prohibition against salary cuts. This was met by a “march on Trenton” in which thousands of teachers poured into the State capital when the Legislature was considering this proposal. The proposal was defeated for the time being, only to reappear the following year.
1934 - Efforts to defeat the “salary reduction” amendment to the Tenure Act were unsuccessful. The Association did defeat, with another “March on Trenton,” a 1934 attempt to make a flat 25% cut in all local expenditures, including schools. Some 4,000 teachers and parents filled Trenton’s War Memorial Building on that issue.
1967 - Teacher Rights Rally in Asbury Park’s Convention Hall. The purpose was to demonstrate against sentences imposed on teachers who had violated court injunctions.
1970 - Teacher Rights Rally in an armory in Elizabeth. The purpose was to demonstrate against sentences imposed on teachers who had violated court injunctions.
1972 - Fair Play Rally Asbury Park in support of two legislative bills. One grant teachers limited right to strike, other strengthen PERC and give powers to redress unfair labor practices. Attended by 5,000.
1983 – Rally for Justice (585 Rally) – chanting “Justice Now”. The City of Trenton was the setting for a massive show of strength by 12,000 NJEA members who jammed behind the State House on Oct. 23 to call for the restoration of public school employee bargaining rights and funds for public education. It centered on passage of Assembly bill 585 and Senate bill S-1235 to restore bargaining rights denied by the 1978 Ridgefield Park decision and the cost-of-living pension adjustment for retired members. If failed in Senate when six legislators broke their promise and voted against it.
1989 - Rally at War Memorial Auditorium April 6 Cuts Hurt Kids Coalition. 3,000 public employees chanting “Give it Up Chuck” Chuck Hardwick was the Assembly speaker who refused to support the restoration of state funds.
1994 – UPROAR Rally. NJEA’s four major areas of concern were salary cuts, pension fund cuts, health care benefit cuts, and education program cuts. Over 30,000 members braved the rains to protest the budget cuts.
2003 – Uproar for Fairness Rally. The proposed cuts could threaten schools, pensions, higher education. The Fairness Alliance made up of 119 organizations created a plan to raise almost $1 billion in additional state revenue by marginally increasing income tax rates for the highest-income 2% residents making over $250,000… It is called the millionaire tax.
Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association