BREA PRESS RELEASE
This is the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association’s response to the statement read by Mr. Jeffrey Brookner on 12/18/18, at the Bridgewater-Raritan Board of Education meeting.
The Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association (BREA) and the Board of Education met on Monday, December 10 with a state-appointed mediator. Prior to that meeting, we indicated that we planned to enter those discussions hopeful that the conversations will move us all into a positive direction. I am disappointed to share that that meeting did not result in an agreement.
However, that disappointment paled to what we felt when, instead of responding to the association’s offer extended on the morning of December 19, the board’s negotiations chair chose to read a statement designed to deflect responsibility, mislead the public and sow dissension amongst our membership. While the Board claims that they crafted their prepared statement prior to receiving our most recent proposal, it doesn’t explain why they still chose to proceed in reading it.
Make no mistake: The Board’s “solution” does not address our members’ need for relief from the onerous impact of Chapter 78. In fact, in some cases, BREA members may lose additional money, resulting in an even greater backslide in their take-home salaries. Moreover, this “offer” is not binding, nor does it mean that negotiations have concluded. Under Chapter 126 P.L. 2003, known as the School Employees Contract Resolution & Equity Act, boards of education may not impose any offer; both parties must negotiate, agree and ratify any agreement.
As I stated last month, if the BREA and board are not able to resolve pending issues, then we will address our plans to rightfully engage in actions. BREA members are committed to their students and this community; however, we are equally as committed to standing firm in our resolve to not settle for anything less than a fair and equitable settlement in order to provide for our own families. If that means that we are forced to limit our work to only those activities under which are contractually obligated to participate to demonstrate our value to this board and school district, then that is what we will do.
As always, we remain committed to transparency in this process, with both the district administration and the community. Please visit our association website, b-rea.org, for the latest information and any breaking news.