‘Insulted’ by Contract Impasse, South Orange-Maplewood Teachers will March & Rally on Monday

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From the South Orange-Maplewood Education Association:

On Monday, December 20, 2021, the South Orange-Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) will conduct a march and rally in order to express its discontent with the state of contract negotiations with the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.  Currently, the two parties are at impasse.  At the last negotiations session on October 7th of this year, the Board of Education offered a percentage for salary guide increases far below the Essex County average of 3.3%.  SOMEA is disheartened and insulted and regards the Board of Education’s offer as an unjustified show of disrespect.  SOMEA teachers and staff deserve salaries that are comparable to other Essex County districts. We urge the Board of Education to return to the table and bargain in good faith.

SOMEA members will gather at two points, South Orange Middle School in South Orange and Maplewood Middle School in Maplewood, and each group will march through the two towns at 6:15 PM to the Board of Education office at 525 Academy Street in Maplewood.  There, the members will rally and attend the Board of Education’s monthly meeting beginning at 7:30 PM.

During the public speaking portion of the meeting, SOMEA members and community members plan to speak about the state of the district as they see it, and about the role a fair contract can play in maintaining a healthy district, one that would attract top job candidates and encourage veteran teacher retention.  Additionally, members will speak about their struggles with the long-inadequate salary guide and with the often-deteriorating conditions on the job.

The South Orange and Maplewood Association

SOMEA is the inclusive union that represents more than 750 South Orange-Maplewood Public School employees, including transportation & maintenance personnel, secretaries, IT specialists, athletic trainers, child study teams, social workers, counselors, librarians, nurses, and teachers.

For more information please contact:

David Mastrodonato, SOMEA Action Chair, mastro431@yahoo.com

Rocio Lopez, SOMEA President, someapresident@gmail.com

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