The Neptune Township Education Association won the 2017 NJEA Jim George Collective Bargaining Award at the Collective Bargaining Summit held in Somerset on Oct. 27. The local association in Monmouth County was recognized for member, community and political organizing, and a strong settlement that puts a cap on Chapter 78 health care contributions.
“It started with the association members,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan as she conferred the award. “NTEA conducted regular building meetings and tapped into the power of the people. As they energized their members, it became easier to mobilize them when it counted.”
After negotiating for more than two years without a settlement, the association expanded its efforts to take its cause to the community. Members attended events in the township as an association and built relationships with parents.
With stronger community support, the association was successful in electing new members to the board of education.
“We must always remember that when we bargain contracts, it’s critical that we engage all community members in the process,” Blistan said. “When we garner support from our community members, we strengthen our ability to advocate for ourselves and for the advancement of our profession.”
In April 2017, NTEA and the Neptune Board of Education reached five-year agreement that covered the two previous years and three years going forward. Chapter 78 member contributions were capped at $7,500 for certificated staff and $2,500 for ESP, ending the annual losses in take-home pay.
“Put differently, that cap means certificated staff members at the top of guide will see an extra $7,000 in their pockets,” Blistan concluded.
Look for the full story of NTEA’s path to an award-winning collective bargaining agreement in the January or February edition of the NJEA Review.
A record 20 local associations were nominated for this year’s NJEA Jim George Collective Bargaining Award.
The award is presented annually to an association that has accomplished one or more of the following:
• Bargained one or more new contractual provisions not already found in another affiliate’s contract.
• Conducted an extraordinary community organizing effort that resulted in a contract settlement.
• Used the bargaining experience to propel new members into association involvement and leadership positions
• Achieved a particularly good settlement, in comparison to the state average, in salary increases, health benefits, professional development, and/or member protection.
Many of the nominated locals negotiated relief from Chapter 78 losses in take-home pay. Nominated locals also bargained higher than average settlements in their respective counties, reduced salary guide steps, increased stipends, developed fairer methods for calculating leaves under the Family Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act, stronger contract language that protects educational support professionals (ESP) from privatization, and increased funding for professional development programs.
• Allendale Education Association
• Cape May County Special Services Staff Association
• Cinnaminson Education Association
• Frankford Township Education Association
• Freehold Borough Education Association
• Glassboro Education Association
• Harrison Township Education Association
• Hillsborough Education Association
• Irvington Education Association
• Lenape District Education Association
• Lenape District Support Staff Association
• Lumberton Township Education Association
• Mahwah Education Association
• Neptune Township Education Association
• Ocean County Vocational Technical Education Association
• Old Bridge Township Education Association
• Palmyra Education Association
• Toms River Education Association
• Waldwick Education Association
• Westampton Education Association