Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Newark Teachers Hammer Union Leaders Over Sell-Out Contract

Over 1,000 members of the 3,300 member Newark Teachers Union met union leaders tonight to discuss the sell-out contract negotiated this week between the NTU and Newark public schools:

Leaders of the Newark Teachers Union faced a barrage of criticism from rank and file members tonight over the historic three-year contract signed Friday that, for the first time, will offer annual bonuses of up to $12,500 to top teachers.

Many of the teachers and school employees who spoke during the meeting at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center urged fellow members to reject the contract when it is voted on by the union’s 3,300 members on Monday.

"It’s not everything I wanted, and it’s not everything you deserve," union President Joseph Del Grosso told the 1,000 people who gathered tonight. "You’re going to vote on it, so it’s in your hands."

Teachers complained the $5,000 annual bonuses offered for teachers rated ‘highly effective’ according to a new four-tiered evaluation system will be impossible to attain. Others expressed fears that merit pay would pit one teacher against another and diminish the overall quality of education.


Under the contract, teachers can also earn bonuses of up to $5,000 for working in the district’s lowest performing schools and $2,500 for teaching subjects with shortages like math and science. Base salaries in the contract will increase by 13.9 percent over three years.

Teachers have been working without a contract for the past two years and as part of the new agreement, every union member will receive a slice of the $31 million dedicated to retroactive pay. No teacher will get less than $3,500 and veteran educators could earn up to $12,000. Half the money for back pay and bonuses will come from private donors, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has donated $100 million to improve the city’s schools.

Teachers who spoke at tonight’s meeting, however, said the one-time checks won’t make up for the salary increases they could have had if a contract had been reached two years ago.
Del Grosso tried to tame the crowd, repeatedly reminding the teachers to "be professional," but he was frequently shouted over.

He also said the union could walk out on Tuesday if the contract is voted down, even though teacher strikes are illegal in New Jersey.

"This contract is a piece of garbage that will divide the union," one teacher said. "Wait three years until we can get something better."

A lot of people met Del Grosso and the union leadership tonight and it doesn't sound like too many of them are happy with this sell-out contract.

We'll have to see how the vote goes, but if tonight is any indication, Randi Weingarten and the rest of the corporate shills at the AFT and the NTU might have some trouble getting this "piece of garbage that will divide the union" passed.

And that's of course exactly what this contract is meant to do - divide teachers, pit school staffs against each other, pit young against old, pit other teachers in New Jersey against teachers in Newark if they agree to this contract and merit pay comes to other towns and municipalities.

The NTU leadership and Weingarten ought to be ashamed they're pushing this piece of shit contract onto Newark teachers, but they're incapable of that emotion.

They're too busy sucking up to the corporatocracy as they collect their six figure salaries and benefits and sell working teachers down the river with these "innovative" contracts Weingarten and the education reformers/corporatocracy love so much.

It's time to rid the AFT and the locals of these corporate shills and bring in leadership that defends public schools and teachers from the horrors of corporate education reform.


  1. Randi Weingarten is corporate poison to the public school teacher.

    Whatever she is against.
    Whatever she is for.

    She's become the union leader version of newspaper pro-reform editorial boards.

  2. "...Weingarten ought to be ashamed..."

    Like the deformers she enables, Weingarten is shameless, so we shouldn't expect much on that end, but while we can't make her feel shame, we can reject her collaboration with those who would destroy us.

    May the teachers of Newark be the first to do so.

  3. Yeah I think Newark is ready to take the torch from Chicago and burn Bookers and Randi's asses with it same as it burned Rahmbo and big head Brizzard who skulked off with a million in shut up and go away cash.

  4. It is a shame that it has come to this! As a veteran and Master teacher, I have given countless voluntary hours to my school and spent thousands of my hard-earned money to ensure that I was at my best and to make my school reach the often unattainable goals set for us!

    With this contract, I will lose out on thousands of dollars that I have earned. This contract has made our efforts for last 2 yrs blatantly disappear! So everything I did as a teacher simply meant nothing, valued at zero!

    There is so much about this contract that is not being publicized in the media. Once again, we're money hungry and greedy. In the meantime, I struggle to pay $70,000 in school loans and pay for proper child care! Can't do both on $56,000 after working at NPS since 2001!

    There is no incentive for us, middle step teachers, to vote for this contract. Not only is this about money, but the unjust, hostile working environment

  5. ...this contract creates! I'm saddened to write this post. I've been disillusioned many times over my run at Newark but never like this!