Jersey City Teachers agree to new contract through 2017, Greco discuses bubble step issue

Working without a new contract for two years, Jersey City teachers ratified terms of a new deal with the district through the 2016-17 school year.

Jersey City Teachers

After negotiating for over two years with the Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) on a new contract, Jersey City teachers voted 2,148 to 139 in favor of a new agreement that will expire after the 2016-17 school year.

Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) President Ronnie Greco, speaking with Real Jersey City after the vote, said “it was a long fought battle against the previous [JCBOE], and [Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles] who has not been cooperative.”

“We’ve been battling a governor that’s very hard on teachers and public workers, the superintendent that he placed here, unfriendly board members, but we did what we needed to do last November.”

Greco added that he was thankful for current JCBOE President Vidya Gangadin, as well as the negotiations mediator, Richard C. Gwin, for their roles in getting the contract finalized.

Regarding the issues teachers were raising with the new contract, Greco said “the main concern was the bubble steps.”

“The bubbles are something that are in salary guides, they are inherent in salary guides, I would like to blow them up and get rid of them, but it’s very costly – you need millions of dollars to do that.”

“When you do break up the bubble it affects some of the people moving through the guides, and you hate to do it, but it’s something that has to be done especially this time around with the small amount of money the board had to negotiate with.”

With the teacher aides, secretaries, and NCASA affiliates of the JCEA still set to vote on their contract, Greco suggested it would be a long weekend if they didn’t approver their deals.

“If the teacher aides, or the secretaries, or the NCASAs should vote down their contract tomorrow, Vidya Gangadin and I are going to have a long weekend hammering out the details of whatever needs to get done.”

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