What are the NEA, the NJEA, the MCCEA, and the AFT, and how is the WTEA related to them?

These are all organizations representing and working for the benefit of faculty and staff in the nation’s schools, colleges, and universities. The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest college and university faculty and staff organization in the United States, representing more than 100,000 higher education personnel on campus, in state legislatures, and in Washington, where many critical decisions about higher education are made. Total NEA membership is 2,500,000.  The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is the New Jersey affiliate of the NEA, and the Morris County Council of Education Associations (MCCEA) is the Morris County affiliate of the NJEA. The WTEA is the local union that is affiliated with the NEA, the NJEA, and the MCCEA. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has a current membership of approximately 1,000,000 educational employees, of which approximately 70,000 are employed in institutions of higher learning. Like the NEA and its affiliates, the AFT works to achieve job security and associated benefits for its members and to improve the nation’s educational institutions. In 2001, the NEA and the AFT entered into a national “partnership” agreement to cooperate and work together for the good of their respective members and for the improvement of the American educational system. The ultimate aim is to merge the two organizations into a single national educational union. However, some state affiliates of the NEA – including the NJEA – have not yet ratified the national agreement. Since the WTEA is an affiliate of the NJEA, we have no relationship with the AFT or any of its affiliates at this time. Incidentally, the NEA-AFT agreement contains a jurisdictional (“no-raid”) agreement, which bans each national organization from challenging or assisting in challenges of established bargaining agents of the other partner or locals that have won exclusive bargaining agency.

What does the WTEA/NJEA/NEA do for me?

  • Provides overall district, county, state, national, and international coordination of the efforts of organized educators
  • Nationally lobbies Congress and federal agencies on behalf of its members and public schools, supports and coordinates innovative projects, works with other education organizations and friends of public education, provides training and technical assistance to its affiliates and generally conducts activities consistent with the policies set by its elected governing bodies.
  • Represents you in Trenton and Washington in the legislature and with the various commissions and agencies that affect your work life
  • Protects you from improper and illegal dismissal or suspension
  • Negotiates your contract – improves it and fights off attempts to strip it
  • Helps you to enforce your contract
  • Continues to liberalize your retirement benefits
  • In case of trouble, provides staff and legal assistance as appropriate
  • Trains your local leaders in techniques of bargaining your contract; protecting it from abuse; advising you in safeguarding your job, retirement income, and working conditions

What are all of the deductions on my paycheck?

Getting that first paycheck is always very exciting, especially for those fresh out of school. But there is a lot of information included on that stub that you should be aware of! First, it would be a good idea to read the article “What Happened to My Paycheck? A Guide to Payroll Deductions” because it explains about various state and federal deductions and taxes. Next, take a look at this sample stub from the Washington Twp BOE- there are certain areas selected for emphasis and explanation. If you are still having difficulties understanding the what and why, you should contact the Payroll office and speak to someone directly. Being aware of your correct pay and the various deductions could really help you in the end!

What portions of my WTEA dues go to the NEA, NJEA, and MCCEA?

The total NEA, NJEA, and MCCEA dues burden on the WTEA is specific amount per member - a percentage to the NJEA, a percentage to the NEA, and percentage to the MCCEA. Dues moneys in excess of the per-member amounts paid to the NEA, NJEA, and MCCEA go into the WTEA treasury. For a description of the current WTEA dues structure from 2010 thru 2011, log in to the Member’s Only section.

What do I get for my dues dollars?

Your dues dollars generate big pidends. Did you know that because of NJEA’s hard work, when you retire after 25 years of service, you earn lifetime health benefits? This benefit alone allows you to recoup all of your dues investment in just the first two years of retirement.

  • NJEA provides a multitude of professional development opportunities, such as the NJEA Convention.
  • NJEA lobbyists pursue legislation that protects our members and public schools.
  • NJEA members are eligible to receive scores of discounts through the Member Benefits program.
  • NJEA publications provide up-to-date information on issues affecting members and their professional careers.
  • NJEA field staff will bring negotiations expertise to the WTEA’s doorstep

Are my dues dollars spent for political purposes? What is PAC?

NJEA PAC is the New Jersey Education Association Political Action Committee. It is a legal mechanism through which our Association provides financial support to political candidates for state office. PAC is power! NJEA PAC provides us with the power to shape our profession, protect our benefits, and promote public education. All NJEA PAC funds are raised from the voluntary contributions of our members. NJEA cannot use dues money to support PAC. Therefore, it is up to you to turn on the power!

Where can I obtain a copy of the current WTEA Contract?

Copies of the current WTEA Contract (containing the collective bargaining agreement and salary guide) is available online in PDF format in the Member’s Only section. As we are currently in the process of bargaining our new contract, updates can be found in the Negotiations section of this site. (You will need the PIN # on your membership card to access this page in the Members Only area.)

What is tenure?

Teacher tenure is an employment security device by which the teacher attains permanent status and protection against dismissal except for just cause. You must successfully complete a probationary period of three full years plus one day, if hired before August 6, 2012. Four years if hired after August 6, 2012. For more information on this topic, contact your Uniserv director.

If I have a complaint or a grievance relevant to the work of the WTEA, what do I do?

Specific information and steps are located on the Grievance page in this site (You will need the PIN # on your membership card to access this page in the Members Only area), along with a list of names and contact information for Association Representatives who stand on the Grievance Committee.

What are Weingarten Rights?

If an employee is called in for an interview or discussion or conversation with an administrator and the employee reasonably believes that what is said at the interview may result in him/her being disciplined, then the employee has the right to demand union representation at the interview. Read more about this!

Where can I get information about the school employee retirement system?

Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund - the TPAF was established to provide retirement benefits to all “full-time” certificated employees employed by local school districts or the State Department of Education. Membership is mandatory for these employees. Vesting occurs after ten years of service credit. Members are generally eligible for retirement at age 60 or after 25 years of service credit.

Public Employees’ Retirement System - the PERS was established to provide retirement benefits to most employees of the State, local governments, certain employees (ESP) of local school districts, vocational schools, accredited evening schools, county colleges or public agencies who are not required by law to become members of another State-administered retirement system. Membership is mandatory for most employees. Vesting occurs after 10 years of service credit. Members are generally eligible to retire at age 60 or after 25 years of service credit.

The TPAF and PERS are managed by the pision of Pensions and Benefits. For more information, contact the pision?s client services office at 609-292-7524 or visit their internet site at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

Certain employees of county colleges (full-time faculty) are eligible to participate in a defined contribution retirement program called the Alternate Benefit Program (ABP). Participants in the ABP provide for their future retirement benefits through the purchase of fixed or variable annuities underwritten by private financial companies. Employees contribute, through payroll deductions, a flat five percent of their base salary and the State contributes an eight percent “match”. Vesting occurs after one year of service credit. For more information about the ABP contact the pision’s defined contribution plans unit at 609-292-2914 or visit their internet website at: www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions

Can I purchase additional service credit?

Public employees enrolled in PERS or TPAF may be able to increase their future retirement benefits or qualify for additional benefits by purchasing additional service credit. PERS and TPAF members are eligible to purchase temporary, provisional, certain intermittent, certain types of leaves, former membership, certain out-of-state service, U.S. Government service, military service and former service in a New Jersey local government retirement system. For those who plan on buying service credit, the cost increases as your salary increases. For more information, go to the pision of Pensions internet site at www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions. From there click on Publications. Then click on Fact Sheet # 1 “Purchasing Service Credit”.

What is a 403(b) tax-deferred savings program?

A 403(b) plan is a type of tax-sheltered annuity plan for tax-exempt organizations and public schools, often referred to as a tax-sheltered annuity plan or “TSA plan”. 403(b) plans permit eligible school district and county college employees to supplement their future retirement benefits. 403(b) plans permit employees to tax shelter a portion of their current income by entering into salary reduction agreements through their employer. The employer then contributes these “elective deferrals” on a pre-tax basis into a tax-deferred savings account. For more information about tax-sheltered annuities, see your school business office.

What is the Alternate Benefit Program? (ABP)

The Alternate Benefit Program (ABP) is the pension plan adopted by the State of New Jersey for faculty and certain administrators of higher education. It is similar to programs in place in most private and public institutions of higher education throughout the United States. The ABP is a defined contribution retirement program that allows participants to self-direct their own retirement account. The ABP provides retirement benefits, life insurance and disability coverage. For more information contact the pision of Pensions and Benefits at 609-292-7524 or go to www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/abp1.htm

Do I have the proper certification?

Most new teachers in New Jersey are hired with either a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) or a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS). Once hired, they must apply for and get a Provisional Certificate. During their first year, they are evaluated three times on state forms which are copied and sent to the Department of Education. This applies to new classroom teachers but not to most non-classroom practitioners such as social workers or guidance counselors.

It is very important that the district register all new classroom teachers who hold either the CE or CEAS for the provisional program and that the teachers apply for and receive their provisional certificate. The teacher is prohibited by statute from teaching until they have the appropriate certificate. Their required year of provisional service and mentoring begins only after they are registered with the State. Visit The New Jersey Department of Education for more information.

What is my APE?

Under the teacher evaluation regulations, the “Annual Performance Evaluation” (APE) is a written statement of actions developed by the supervisor and the teaching staff member to correct deficiencies or to continue professional growth, timelines for their implementation, and the responsibilities of the inpidual teaching staff member and the district for implementing the plan.

What is the 100-hour professional development requirement?

On May 6, 1998, the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted a plan requiring all school personnel – tenured and nontenured alike – who hold instructional licenses or educational services licenses (guidance counselors, nurses, school psychologists, etc.) to complete 100 hours of continuing education every five years, starting Sept. 1, 2000.

However, a new movement is now in place (start date was September 1, 2010) to get everyone on the same schedule. Information will be distributed throughout the year on this. You can also visit the PD section of this site. (You will need the PIN # on your membership card to access this page in the Members Only area.)