Locked in negotiations since November, the North Bergen Federation of Teachers came out strong on Wednesday evening to urge the board of education to approve a new contract.
“I wanted people that are teachers to come up here tonight so you could see the people you are dealing with. Sometimes we get caught up with the negotiating team, it’s the negotiating team, but it’s not just the negotiating team: these are the people I’m representing,” said North Bergen Federation of Teachers President Elizabeth Lynch.
“These are the people that we’re at the table for. These are the people that live in North Bergen, many of them. These are the people that work in North Bergen, that go to your stores and shop in your shops, pay taxes in your town and vote in your town.”
Lynch, who said negotiations have been ongoing since November, showed up with at least 150 of her fellow union members for a meeting that took place during the same time as a police promotion ceremony that featured the first Latina captain in the county’s history.
For her efforts, Lynch received a standing ovation for at solid minute as the BOE trustees and Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter looked on.
After the meeting, Solter spoke with HCV about the latest contract dispute with the teachers union,
“I definitely understand that they want certain things and we have things that we can offer – I’m trying not to break the agreements that we’ve had. I would just say right now that we’re a family. I grew up in North Bergen, I was a North Bergen teacher, was a North Bergen vice principal, supervisor, now superintendent,” Solter began.
“I have friends that are colleagues, they work for me, I call them colleagues, we have conversations all the time about kids. Conversations all the time about different thoughts … they have to understand and we have to understand them and that’s really where it comes down to.”
The board did not take any action on the teachers contract at Wednesday’s meeting.