While the term May Day may bring up images of the Victorian May Pole, (and the history of May Day is ancient…going back almost two millennia to the celebration by the Gaelic in celebration of Spring!)…in the modern age, May Day is celebrated in 66 countries as International Worker Day. Ironically, the holiday has been downplayed in the United States where, technically, International Worker Day started!
May Day started in 1886 with the demand by unions for an eight hour work day and has morphed into International Worker Day. The History Channel has an interesting article, if you would like to explore the history of May Day.
On May 1st, (May Day), Locals in each county of New Jersey have chosen an activity to participate in to help raise awareness and support of New Jersey’s Great Public Schools, the unfairness of Chapter 78 (Health Insurance Premiums) and the lack of E.S.P. rights. (Did you know secretaries, bus drivers and/or custodians can all be fired even if they have a CURRENT contract?)
Some of the events that Locals chose to participate in:
Mall or Park Walks
Rallies (Passaic County will have rallies in Wayne, Ringwood and Hawthorne…all are invited, but you must register.)
Email Blasts: All members will join together to send all these emails at once: Chapter 78 Email, ESP Rights Email, Stop Vouchers Email, Support Student Loan Forgiveness Email, Support Special Education (IDEA) Funding Email.
NJEA Political Action Committee (NJEA PAC) Drive: Members will sign up to voluntarily donate $2 or $3 a month to support candidates that support our public schools. The money can also be used for television commercials to raise awareness on issues that affect our schools and members. This event is vitally important because millionaires and billionaires spend huge sums of money to “get their candidates’ message out there.” By uniting thousands of small donations, OUR candidates can get their message out, too!
Red Ribbon Campaign: Locals are encouraging members and public school supporters to put a RED RIBBON on their homes, mailbox or tree to show your support for NJ”s great public schools.
Walk Ins: All Members meet outside of their school buildings and “walk in” unity.
Attend a Lobby Day in Trenton:
Meet With Legislators and/or Rally Outside of Legislator Offices
There are many different ideas and some Locals are doing multiple activities. The Bergen County Education Association has already had meetings with almost every single Legislator in Bergen County. Typically, 8-12 BCEA members visited the legislator’s office and they described the unfairness of Chapter 78 and why ESP’s need rights. This has had a tremendous impact and many legislators (Republicans AND Democrats) have signed on to at least one of our bills, (but more needs to be done…so send those emails! There are several prominent Legislators from Bergen County that have NOT signed on and they need to hear from YOU!)
These are some of the important bills that we need to pass:
A3664 Concerns arbitration for certain non-teaching school staff. Bergen County Co-sponsors: Tully (D-38), Swain (D-38), Huttle (D-37), Johnson (D-37), Calabrese (D-36), Wimberly (D-35), Mejia (D-32), Rooney (R-40), DePhillips (R-40), Jimenez (D-32), Weinberg (D-37), Lagana (D-38)
A3395 Concerns subcontracting agreements entered into by public school districts. Bergen County Co-sponsors: Wimberly (D-35), Johnson (D-37), Jimenez (D-32), Tully (D-38), Swain (D-38), Mejia (D-32), Huttle (D-37), DePhillips (R-40), Rooney (R-40), Weinberg (D-37), Lagana (D-38), Sacco (D-32)
A4352 Revises health care levy adjustment for school districts; makes various changes for health care benefits for school employees; requires certain information in school budgets; imposes cap on contributions by public employees for health care benefits. Bergen County Co-sponsors: Schaer (D-36), Wimberly (D-35), Huttle (D-37), Johnson (D-37), Sumter (D-35), Jimenez (D-32), Mejia (D-32), Calabrese (D-36), Weinberg (D-37), Sacco (D-32)
(To find your legislator by town: Click here…remember each district has two Assembly Legislators and 1 Senator) Here is a quick way to see who is your Legislator and whether or not they sponsored our bills, by looking at the names above!)
For May Day, the BCEA is asking ALL BCEA Members and public school supporters to place a red ribbon on their tree, house, door, or mailbox to show your support for our great public schools. While placing the ribbon is step one, it is vital that you take to social media showing your support (send us pictures!) Take pictures of you and your ribbon (or very short videos (30 seconds or less and explain why you are putting a red ribbon up)) use the hash tags: #RedForEd #WorthItWednesdays #FixtheUnfairness
There is ribbon available for your Local at BCEA Headquarters…first come, first serve. Please also use these meme’s on your social media to help raise awareness.
Friends, Family and Parents can get involved, too!