Late Sunday evening, the leadership of Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with the Jersey City Board of Education, following more than 20 negotiation sessions and a one-day strike on March 16.
The agreement came after more than 13 hours of negotiations on March 18.
NJEA President Marie Blistan congratulated the members of JCEA. “The brave members of JCEA took a stand for themselves, their students and all of New Jersey,” said Blistan. “They demanded justice, and they refused to back down until they got justice. They demonstrated the power of a union to improve the lives of working people. This contract agreement sets an important precedent for all of New Jersey. It is a victory for all public school employees and students in our state.”
NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller echoed that sentiment. “This is a victory for working families everywhere. By declaring that affordable healthcare is a fundamental need for every family, the members of JCEA sent a strong message to employers across New Jersey. Working people should not be afraid to stand up for economic justice.”
NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty thanked the Jersey City community for its support of JCEA members. “The unwavering support of parents and the Jersey City community was a key factor in resolving this contract dispute. Jersey City parents know how dedicated JCEA members are, and they know that strong schools require dedicated professionals. I know that our members are very happy to return to their students knowing that they have achieved a fair settlement.”
As of the time of posting, details of the settlement had not been released, but JCEA had long maintained that relief from the onerous health care contributions imposed by Ch. 78, but negotiable under state law, was a fundamental issue in the negotiations.
Jersey City schools will be open on schedule, Monday, March 19.
NJEA and the JCEA look forward to the speedy resolution of three other affiliate contracts in Jersey City with the paraprofessionals, secretaries, and NCASA.
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