WAYNE, NJ – At this week’s Wayne Board of Education meeting the board voted to approve a final agreement with the Wayne Education Association (WEA) on the Full-Time Release issue that has plagued every meeting since late August of this year. See story
The agreement keeps the Wayne School District in compliance with what they feel is now New Jersey law based on a ruling by the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division decision addressing Full-Time Release: No public money is to be paid an employee who works full-time on union business.
Eda Ferrante, the WEA union President had been on Full-Time Release until the court published its decision on August 21 of this year. In the collective bargaining agreement that both sides signed, it was agreed that the WEA would reimburse 75% of Ferrante’s salary. In this new agreement, the WEA has agreed to reimburse 100% of the employee costs for Ferrante while she is on full-time release, allowing her to devote all of her working time on union issues.
There are some stipulations, and these were the sticking points that led to the delay in this agreement.
The Appellate Court’s decision was an overturning of the original court’s opinion and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) has petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court to look at the case in hopes that the Supreme Court will overturn the Appellate Court’s decision and allow public funds to pay for full-time release to Union employees as negotiated in individual CBAs.
The three stipulations in this new agreement cover what could happen in the New Jersey Supreme Court:
- If the Supreme Court overturns the Appellate court decision, then the two parties will revert back to the original CBA.
- If the Supreme Court modifies the decision, they will go into negotiations again
- If the Supreme Court either denies the petition or decides to uphold the appellate court decision, this new agreement will remain in place until it expires.
The room felt lighter after the board voted to adopt the new agreement and afterword the word ‘happy’ was used often.
Dr. Mark Toback, the Wayne Superintendent of Schools said: “I’m very happy that this issue has come to an end. I’m looking forward to working with the WEA for the betterment of our students and our teachers.”
Ferrante, who was home recovering from minor surgery during the BOE meeting, gave a phone interview and echoed Toback’s comments: “I’m happy that we were able to come to an amicable resolution to this issue and we look forward to mending fences with the board and this administration for the good of everyone in this community.”
WEA First Vice President, Donna Reaver who has been involved in this issue from the beginning summed it up nicely: “We’re just relieved that it’s finally over.”