Minutes before a district-wide event where Bayonne parents meet their children’s teachers, dozens protested outside of Midtown Community No. 8 Elementary School as frustration continues to build after nearly a year-and-a-half without a contract.
“Nothings been happening for the last month, we haven’t met. We’re looking forward to meeting on the 21st [of November], that’s the next date we have out there – they [the board of education] haven’t confirmed that date as of now,” said Bayonne Teachers Association President Alan D’Angelo.
“We’ve gotten information that they want to meet once a week to get this settled and we’re available but they have to get to us with those dates so that we can confirm them.”
Without a contract since June 30, 2015 D’Angelo also expressed frustration over the process, particularly since it took four years to get a contract the last time around.
“We need to settle this contract for these teachers so they can get back to work and concentrate on what they do, which is teach. But, they need a fair contract, they need to live and support their families and they can’t do it with the way the salary guide is now.”
When asked about the BOE declining the offer from Mayor Jimmy Davis to have a contract negotiation session at City Hall, D’Angelo said he had no issue meeting with anyone at any time or any place, but he had to respect the board’s wishes in this situation.
“Listen, my job is to represent 850 teachers and secretaries: I am willing to meet anywhere … with anyone that plays a part in this. So yes, I was for it, but I don’t have to meet there, I could meet at the board offices or anywhere else.”
He declined to speculate on whether or not the contract would be settled by the end of the year, simply stating that he hopes it is worked out by the conclusion of the November 21 meeting, which Lawandy later said is still the current plan as of today.
Bayonne BOE Trust Mikel Lawandy, one of the two trustees on the teachers’ contract negotiation committee (the other being Carol Cruden), said he plans to stick true to their plan to meet weekly until this issue is settled.
He said he offered several days and times to meet this week, but union representatives said they were not available. Lawandy added that he had no issue with the teachers protesting.
According to D’Angelo, teachers also protested outside of the vast majority of Bayonne’s other elementary schools, with the exception of the Nicholas Oresko School since they did not host an open house event tonight.