North Bergen teachers demand new round of contract negotiations
A group of North Bergen teachers showed up to a school board meeting Wednesday to demand a new round of contract negotiations.
The teachers have been without a contract since September, for the first time in at least 50 years. The teachers demanded that the school board gets more serious about negotiating a contract.
Teachers tell News 12 New Jersey that at the last negotiating session they were given a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Negotiations broke down after that. The city's 650 teachers have been working under the agreement of the previous contract, which means no raise and less money in their take-home check because the cost of health insurance has risen.
The North Bergen school superintendent, who is not on the negotiating team, says he wants the matter settled but not to the long-term detriment of students.
"I'm looking for fiscal prudence and it's not going to happen now," says George Solter Jr. "That's going to happen years down the line. Probably when I'm not superintendent anymore."
North Bergen Federation of Teachers union spokesperson Elizabeth Lunch says morale among the teachers has been horrible.
"They're feeling overwhelmed and under worked and underappreciated, particularly by the Board of Education," Lynch says.
Both sides left Wednesday's meeting without scheduling another round of negotiations.