Spring! We made it!
Things are quite “hairy” across our nation right now. Our sisters and brothers in some states are on strike or are preparing to strike. They have had enough of inferior conditions, no support, no supplies, not enough guidance counselors and nurses, and meager salaries. We support their efforts.
Here in NJ, we continue actions to show our collective strength. We wrote postcards, sent FAXes and had our second “Wear Red for Ed” during a wonderful breakfast sponsored by NJEA.
We wore red for unity and to remind each other that S-2606 is the way to get chapter 78 relief! Chapter 78 relief means LESS out of our pockets for our health care premiums. If you called the committee chairs to demand that S-2606 be posted, voted on and approved. Thank you. It is not too late to do that…or do it again!
We had a very successful fund raiser for the NEA Fund for children and Public Education and raised enough money to represent each delegate from EWEA. As you know, the fund is our political voice. Thank you VERY much.
Now on to Senator Sweeney and his “Path to Poverty”…
Sweeney has now taken this report on the road and is holding a series of Town Hall meetings throughout the state to promote the contents of the report. As a result some of the recommendations are being posted on social media websites that do not support NJEA initiatives and prefer to agitate our members against local and NJEA leadership. NJEA always has a team of staff members assess any new idea that may become a threat to NJEA members. When NJEA leadership has determined that something is a viable danger to their members they have always notified their members and asked them to take preventative action. As EWEA members you have been involved in multiple actions at the request of NJEA and EWEA leadership.
As a result of the Path to Progress townhall meetings and the resulting information on social media, within the last week there has been some amount of panic travelling through the NJEA membership. This is exactly the response certain social media sites wanted to achieve; agitate NJEA members against leadership. The recommendation they have chosen to use to incite our members reads” Require all new state and government retirees to pay the same percent of premium costs they paid while working.” Somehow, social media is claiming this would be in effect July 1, 2019 and therefore many experienced members are feeling an immediate threat.
Let’s think about this with a clear head for a minute:
* The percentage you currently pay is based upon your current salary.
* Your current salary does not transfer into retirement with you
* Therefore, this proposal significantly increases the ratio of the amount you pay as an active member to your retirement status
* Should that ever be written into the draft of a bill, it will never come out of committee.
* Legislators want to be re-elected.
* Let’s remember these are recommendations from a non-legislative body.
* None of these recommendations have been drafted as a bill.
* Now, at the most recent Town Halls, Sweeney now stated he was going to remove that specific recommendation.
* Can we trust him? No.
* Does NJEA consider this to be a viable threat? No.
* The first notification NJEA sent out to their field staff ( for us that’s Susan Nardi) was yesterday because of the panic social media is causing.
* It is not considered a viable threat at this point; however remember that its goal is to agitate NJEA members and cause a divide.
I would like to remind you, that while I have been the president of EWEA, it has been my experience that NJEA has kept their members very well informed on issues that may have a negative impact upon their profession or retirement. When action has been needed they have asked for it from their members through their local leadership, your EWEA Board, and you have supported them.
Please let me know if you have any questions…I am always here.