Categorized | News Release

Perth Amboy Educators Agree to Contract with Health Cost Reductions

Union Credits Community Involvement Leading to 

Reduction in Health Insurance Costs

Press Release

PERTH AMBOY – After working last school year without a contract, Perth Amboy educators are coming back to school this year with a new deal that reduces health insurance costs. The union voted Wednesday to accept the deal and the school board approved the agreement Thursday so the 1,600 members have a contract in place through June 30, 2018. “Our members have been struggling to pay health insurance coverage costs for the past five years due to continual price increases,” said Perth Amboy Federation-American Federation of Teachers President Patricia Paradiso, a third-grade teacher. “Members needed to see a decrease in their health insurance contributions in order to actually starting bringing home more money in their paychecks and I’m proud that this contract achieves that.”

The positive settlement is a result of thousands of conversations with union members, parents and students, according to negotiations chair Donna Tartza, a middle-school physical education teacher. “We held rallies before and after school, went to Board of Education meetings to call for more negotiation dates, spoke to everyone in the community about the importance of having a fair contract for educators and collected signatures from thousands calling on the board to deal fairly,” said Tartza.

The union called for health insurance costs based on a percentage of salary, rather than on ever-increasing premiums. “Our contributions will be stable for the duration of this contract,” said Tartza. The percentage of salary contributed to health insurance is progressive based on salary so lower-paid members pay a lower percentage for insurance up to a maximum of 8.6 percent for those at the top of the pay scale, she said. Significantly higher insurance rates for public workers in New Jersey were set in 2011 by statewide legislation. “That legislation sunset last year, making is possible to negotiate lower costs,” said Tartza.

On the importance of the new contract Paradiso said, “This new contract is a result of all of us in the union standing up for ourselves and the Perth Amboy community, especially parents and students, recognizing the value of educators having fair contracts. Having a competitive contract helps us recruit great new teachers and retain our experienced peers. I am proud that Perth Amboy Federation members are committed professional educators who demand to be treated fairly and want the best for our students and the district.”

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