This past weekend, hundreds of NJEA members braved a predicted torrential rainstorm to attend the 2017 Jim George Collective Bargaining Summit, which was hosted at the DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in Somerset. This annual summit helps train and improve the skills of NJEA leaders and members who participate on negotiation teams. There are numerous workshops for members to choose from including: Bargaining Compensation & Benefits for ESP, Political Organizing for Collective Bargaining, Basic Salary Guide Construction and Current Issues in Bargaining Health Benefits…among many others.
So who was Jim George? Here is a little write up from the NJEA Review from several years ago:
“Jim George was a driving force in NJEA’s quest to secure collective bargaining rights for public school employees. His long relationship with NJEA began when he was a teacher leader in Cinnaminson. An activist at heart, he served the Cinnaminson Teachers’ Association as its treasurer and then local president.
At the forefront in the fight for member rights, George is best known for his stirring remarks at the 1967 Asbury Park Rally for Teacher Rights. It was then that George spoke the words that would become the inspiration behind NJEA’s Collective Bargaining Summit: “A new order is at hand. A new generation has been conceived, and we are not afraid.”
George joined the NJEA UniServ staff in 1967 and served members in Burlington County until 1986 when he became a UniServ coordinator serving the southern portion of the state. For 28 years prior to his untimely death in 1995, George inspired NJEA members, leaders and staff. It was George who first suggested that NJEA hold a collective bargaining summit to invigorate the association’s commitment to bargaining. His legacy lives on through the summit and award that bear his name.”
One of the highlights of the 2017 Jim George Collective Bargaining Summit is the Jim George Collective Bargaining Award, which is presented at a special dinner. The award honors Locals that have negotiated one or more new contractual provisions not already found in another affiliate’s contract, Conducted an extraordinary community-organizing effort that resulted in a settled agreement, Used the bargaining process to propel new members into association involvement and leadership positions and/or Achieved a particularly good settlement, in comparison to state averages, in salary increases, benefits, professional development, and/or member protection and follows best practices for salary guides.
Bergen County had three Locals (Mahwah, Allendale and Waldwick) that were in the running for this prestigious award, but the overall winner was Neptune. We still congratulate the 3 BCEA Locals that were nominated. All members are welcome to attend next year’s summit!