After the Jersey City Council unanimously passed a wage theft protection ordinance (9-0), Jersey City Education (JCEA) President Ron Greco told them that the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) is robbing the union, stating “the only thing they don’t have … is a mask and a gun.”
“When I was reading about the wage theft protection, I mean these people, the only thing they don’t have at Claremont [Ave., the JCBOE building] is a mask and a gun. They are robbing the store blind.”
On June 9th, the JCBOE granted a new contract to JCEA after 28 months of negotiations.
The newly ratified contract protected teachers, administrations, union secretaries, para-professionals and non-certified administrators and allowed for a possible 2.7 percent increase in pay.
Teachers have not received a pay raise since 2012.
According to Greco, during the monthly BOE meeting on June 18th, Hope Blackburn, JCBOE legal council, told that union that they were waiting for the teachers to ratify their contracts so they can file a petition with Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to scope out the language of these ratified contracts.
“I asked many times, if you want to amend the contract to allow for variations, deviations from that eight-bell schedule and the answer I was given by Dr. Lyles’ attorney is no,” claimed Greco.
He also asked if the council can possibly help mediate between the union the JCBOE board.
“There is no accountability. There is no good will here on the part of the superintendent that you spend 28 months negotiating a contract.”
According to the ordinance, that New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) can deny or suspend business licenses to any business entity doing business where it has been found liable of wage theft and failed to cure violation within 90 days of final judgment.
Gina Verdibello, an education activist, asked that the Jersey City Council exercise wage theft protection and have a resolution asking Dr. Lyles to step down.
“It’s time to put Jersey City public schools first,” she said.