Sonia Rincon

Jersey City Teachers Strike For First Time In Decades

March 16, 2018 - 5:33 pm

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- For the first time in decades, Jersey City's public school teachers have gone on strike.

Some 3,100 Jersey City teachers have been working without a contract since September and went on strike Friday morning with teachers showing up at various schools carrying signs.

The work stoppage comes after months of failed negotiations between the Jersey City Education Association and the Board of Education.

There was a board meeting at Snyder High School on Thursday night, that didn't end until 12:30 a.m. 

"I'm waiting for these folks to give me a phone call, hit send on a computer. I was told that was gonna happen between 6:00 and 6:30, that we were gonna get a counter-proposal so that we could study it and hopefully come to a resolution," JCEA President Ron Greco said.

"We rejected their counter-proposal. We quicky made a counter to their counter and they said no and walked out," Greco said.

The contract dispute centers on health care and what the union calls a fair contract. The two parties have met more than 20 times since they began negotiations in May 2017. The teachers of the 29,000 student district have worked under an expired contract since September 1, and are demanding lower health care costs.

It wasn't just be teachers walking off the job. School nurses are also members of the JCEA which comprises 4,000 members. 

"Imagine a profession where people tell you how important it is what you do, that we value you so much but then you're hearing from your Board of Ed, you're hearing we're going to play you less every year for what you do -- it's not sustainable," said NJEA VP Sean Spiller.

This is the first teachers strike in Jersey City in 20 years. 

Greco was at Snyder High to speak with hundreds of teachers picketing on Friday morning.

"And you will stay tuned over the weekend through your strike captains. You may be out here Monday, but God willing, the goal is to have everyone back with the children on Monday where we belong," he said. Quality, affordable health care is a fundamental right for everyone. My members are rpepared to step up and take on this fight for everyone, knowing full well that it will be a long, difficult process," Greco added.

A Hudson County judge ordered the teachers back to work Monday.

The BOE is calling the strike reckless and irresponsible, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.