The 2019/2020 school year is here – and there’s so much ahead of us. And there’s so much happening.
For the first time ever our union is leading open negotiations with the administration. This is both unprecedented and historic. Our goal? To provide transparent, fair and open negotiations. Historically, our contracts have been negotiated behind closed doors and without full access to the negotiating terms. Those days are over.
In addition to contract talks, the Atlantic City Education Association (ACEA) is going to provide more advocacy training and professional development opportunities in addition to “what it means to be a union member” sessions. All of these will help our members grow and develop new skills.
When we talk about advocacy, it’s important to remember that we, as a union, are a force. With 1,000 members strong, we can be a powerful ally to other education and likeminded coalitions to advocate for policies or issues that we care about. Let’s never forget that.
Our next “big fight” is going to be on the issue of premium sharing for dental benefits. This summer, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez struck down the arbitrator’s award of premium sharing for dental with the administration. What does this mean? We have to file an appeal. The fight continues.
Training is key to development. On that point, I attended the NJEAs Summer Leadership Conference, where I participated in a new president’s roundtable. The topics we discussed ranged from retaining members to delivering value to our membership. It was enlightening and inspiring.
Finally, in the year ahead, we have a number of unresolved grievances that we need to settle. Our two new Grievance Co-chairs Michael Turner (Brighton Ave. School) and Stephen Nagiewicz (Atlantic City High School) will be running point on this for our union.
Let’s all make it a great year!