During a massive protest at City Hall, Jersey City Education Association President Ron Greco said it’s “game over” if the board of education does not approve their contract during tomorrow’s meeting.
“This a mayor who proclaims himself and parades himself around this state as signing paid sick day legislation and advocating for sick leave for families. Yet in his own city, he turns his back repeatedly and denies that he has anything to do with the board of education,” Greco said.
” … I am here to tell you today that this unscrupulous man, who has this building dripping in lies and hypocrisy, is responsible, and solely responsible, for bringing [Superintendent of Schools Dr.] Marcia Lyles,” he said, prompting about 300 teachers to chant “get her out!”
The protest, which commenced at 4 p.m. today, comes after another special BOE meeting on Monday yielded no new results for the teachers – who have been without a contract since September.
In a statement, Fulop reiterated what he has said in public meetings and on Hudson County Review Live: he is not in a position to get involved with teachers’ contract negotiations, again suggesting for an independent arbitrator to get involved.
Fulop and Lyles, whose office did not immediately return an email seeking comment, where not the only officials who drew the ire of Greco: the union president fired a warning shot at Gov. Phil Murphy (D), exclaiming that “we will embarrass you” if he continues not to lend a hand.
Murphy’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Before calling it a day, Greco said that a strike was imminent if the BOE did not finally end their seven-month struggle by approving a new deal at tomorrow night’s meeting.
” … I know you’re tired. I know you’ve been outside for seven or eight weeks in the morning. I see the end it’s coming … tomorrow night is the board meeting at the Snyder High School auditorium,” he exclaimed.
” … If the board of education does not vote to accept our contract: game over,” Greco said to loud cheers, whistles blowing and drums banging.
In the event that the board still cannot come to an agreement with the teachers tomorrow, Greco told Hudson County View he was unsure of when a strike would take place since the New Jersey Education Association would have to be consulted about the details.
BOE President Sudhan Thomas said a project $65 million budget shortfall for the upcoming school year has led to the process being drawn out longer than useful, but remains hopeful that the end is in sight.
“The Board has held about 25 negotiation meetings and has met in session about 7 times already this year on this very important matter. The Board is negotiating in good faith without abdicating our responsibility,” he said.
“… The projected $ 65 Million deficit in the 2018-2019 budget and medical insurance costs that grew at 13% have made our options difficult but we are working hard and are confident of presenting an offer that will work well for the teachers and all around.”
During his speech, Greco also called for two separate moments of silence: one for the victims of the Parkland, Florida High School massacre and another for recently deceased educator Dr. Michael Winds, whose father was a longtime vice president for the JCEA.
The protest that took place before Greco’s speech, which was streamed live on our Facebook page, can be viewed below: