Linda Mealia


Morris Union Jointure Commission Education Association

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


First of all I would just like to thank all of you for coming today.

It’s been a lonely few months since we realized the Commission doesn’t want to put in writing the terms and conditions we currently work under. 

But I’ll tell you, it doesn’t feel lonely here today!

It feels great to be here with such visible signs of support. Your commitment to be here shows that we have the support we need to be an effective voice for the teachers and therapists of the Morris Union Jointure Commission.

Our goal is a simple one: To have a fair contract that guarantees the terms and conditions, salary and benefits under which we work as employees. We have spent many months trying to put together our first contract.

We are very honored to have other associations here today.

This tells us that we are not alone in our struggle. Defending our contract and our association is what we share with our colleagues who have come out to be with us.

Let’s thank them for being here. (APPLAUSE)

Thank you for your support. Being part of the NJEA family is new for us and we are proud to join you in advocating for members here at Morris Union.

We are asking for the same rights and benefits that other associations currently enjoy.

Unfortunately, we have a board of education made up of superintendents who do not want us to have a contract.  They would prefer to still be able to call all the shots and change things as they wish.

But we’ve seen how well that’s worked:  a higher than average turnover and smaller than average salaries combined with lesser benefits than our unionized colleagues in education. 

Today is our 5th mediation session. We are making progress and we need to stay unified and strong. Only then can we achieve our goal:  A written contract that protects us and ensures quality staff at our schools.

We are asking the board to respect us and our right to represent our members. We are asking for them to agree to a fair contract that has the same rights and benefits of our colleagues in other districts.

We spend our days working with students affected by autism and we care deeply about our students. We can only hope that the board also cares about them and their employees.

We have to go inside now; we are hopeful that the board is here tonight ready to negotiate. 

Thank you again for your support!