NJEA members in North Jersey recently enjoyed a unique forum for organizing around Chapter 78 relief and ESP job justice: a hatchet throwdown.
Sponsored by the Morris and Passaic County NJEA field offices, the two-evening event took place on January 8 and 9 at Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Fairfield. Attendees were given the opportunity to voice their concerns with the stalled legislation, while also releasing some of their pent-up stress and frustration, by immersing themselves in the trendy activity.
Despite the circumstances, the mood was light, as NJEA members met colleagues from other districts and forged bonds over activities like shuffleboard, Jenga and other group-oriented game. Those brave enough to hurl the hatchets learned the basics from on-site coaches, who taught proper form and technique from the safety of a controlled throwing pit.
NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty joined in on the fun, noting that events like these serve to connect NJEA members and help them discover ways to expand their advocacy efforts.
“Engaging our members—one to one—with other members and leaders is central to our mission,” Beatty stated. “Our strength comes from the fact that we never rest on our laurels, and are always talking, and—more importantly, listening—to our entire membership.”
Beatty went on to note the direct correlation that exists between strong unions and successful schools.
“We can’t have great schools if the educators that make them great aren’t treated as they should be,” Beatty declared. “With this type of engagement, we continue the grassroots organizing that makes our union strong and New Jersey public schools first in the nation.”
Similar sentiments were shared by Sue Butterfield, president of the Passaic County Education Association (PCEA), who expressed frustration at the Legislature’s failure to pass legislation to provide relief to public employees.
“We are frustrated at the lack of action by legislators in Trenton to lessen the ever-increasing burden we bear paying healthcare premiums,” said Butterfield. “In addition, our students incur more trauma every day in the real world and need ever-increasing support, but we cannot forget public school employees need support, too.”
To learn more about events hosted by the Passaic County field office, visit “NJEA Region 27” on Facebook and Instagram.