End Kinnelon Teachers' Labor Dispute, Union Leader Says

KEA president says some services that could be provided under new contract could be curtailed as teachers continue to work under expired contract.

The following was submitted by Kinnelon Education President Tom Shannon. If you have a Letter to the Editor you would like to submit, send it to ariana.cohn-sheehan@patch.com

Dear Editor:

The Kinnelon Education Association (KEA) is extremely proud of its long history of contributions to the comprehensive successes within the Kinnelon school district. In congratulating the community, students, administration and board, the KEA shares its pride in the district’s recent achievement in being ranked No. 5 in the state. 

The KEA is also proud of its long history of fair collective bargaining with the Kinnelon Board of Education. In the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the KEA presented the board with a seven-point proposal seeking basic, minor improvements, which included a salary package below the average of existing Morris County settlements and well below the recently

In the ensuing months, the KEA amended its proposal to contain areas of monetary concessions. The KEA has embraced the state-mandated health benefit contribution and has offered more concessions in health benefits.

In July 2012, the KEA received a new board proposal. The KEA expressed its appreciation, reviewed the document and made a few changes in the spirit of the bargaining process. Yet, instead of proceeding to the bargaining table to discuss these details, the board shut down negotiations.

The members of the KEA have been working for 15 months under an expired contract. Currently, both sides are involved in non-binding fact-finding arbitration. However, the KEA remains open to new discussions every day. 

The KEA desires an end to this labor dispute to assure the progress and maintenance of the district’s academic excellence. Meanwhile, the KEA will remain committed to the academic well-being of the students yet must respect the limitations that exist within an expired contract, such confines that unfortunately curtail some of the services the KEA could provide under a new contract.

Thomas J. Shannon
Kinnelon Education Association

Lulu September 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM
KEA: Can you be more specific & tell us which 'services' will be curtailed should a contract not be agreed upon. Thank you.
Holdstrong September 28, 2012 at 04:11 PM
See it is clear the KEA is threatening or children. "The KEA desires an end to this labor dispute to assure the progress and maintenance of the district’s academic excellence." Why would "progress and maintenance of the district’s academic excellence." end when they are operating under an expired contract? See the KEA are still using old school tactics to scare and threaten the BOE and the parents. Now they have put it in print. BOE hold hard for all of us to minimize the tax increases. Please I urge the BOE to hold the KEA to every term in the expired contract which governs the relationship with the KEA.
the color of money September 28, 2012 at 07:54 PM
They're not wearing green tee shirts, they're wearing GREED tee shirts!
Sammy September 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Mr. Shannon: How about this: The KEA is greatful for the decades of supportand generosity we have had from our community and we are blessed to work in such a great district. In recognition for all the support we will continue to go above and beyond what we are contractually required. In addition since we are so greatful we have agreed to reduce the generous benefit package, reduce other perks we are entitled to under the expired contract and we agree to a 3 year pay freeze? Then you would be at a reasonable starting point. Not we won't do more than the bare minimum. If Glen Rock is so rosey go work there. I'm sure they need an English teacher.
taxing situation September 29, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Mr Shannon, The people of Kinnelon, especially those that have children that have gone throught KHS, and their children had the "pleasure" of you teaching them, have little respect for you as a teacher, and even less as a KEA leader. Just as you don't want people comparing public unions to private industry, please don't compare Kinnelon to Glen Rock (or any other school district), Kinnelon is a very unique borough. We don't have the tax base to cover the demands of the union-it comes from the residents' pockets. We have generously supported our teachers over the years. I'm sure many of the residents blindly voted on the school budgets, ultimately supporting your raises. Many of the teachers and administrators are highly regarded and people felt they deserved it. Now, we may still feel they deserve it, but we just don't have the money. I agree with Sammy, instead of figuratively giving us the finger, why don't you see where you can cut your demands this time and when the economy is better, re-visit them. This will go a long way toward rebuilding the trust in the KEA.
Kinnelon Education Tops September 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Taxing situation - "...but we just don't have the money." I agree 100% w you. In an economy such as this one, times are hard for all of us financially. That being said, let's wait until Fact Finding comes out which should be made public in the next month. I'm sure we will all read that the KEA isn't asking for much. They can't by statute. The 2% property tax cap prohibits this. Trust me every member of the KEA did take a pay cut last year & an even bigger 1 this yr. This pay cut was quite steep. Most teachers work 2nd jobs: waitressing, other businesses such as drivers ed school, tutoring, coaching. Only the coaching positions are stipended positions paid by our taxes. The KEA respects that times are hard. My guess is that the Fact Finding will show that their proposal is fair & reasonable. Regardless of what KEA gets in their salary increase (peanuts regardless), it will not come close to the pay cut they took & are taking w the health care contribution. Keep in mind, this increases every yr substantially. This yr it can be up to 17% of the premium. Last year, it was 1.5% of their salaries. It is a lot more next yr. KEA is simply trying to offset some of that. Their increases won't come close to covering it. I live in Kinnelon because of the educational reputation of the town. My spouse & I work our tails off in order pay for the steep property taxes of Kinnelon. It is truly worth it, as my children get the top notch education they deserve.
Tiredofthethreats September 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Me Shannon My company had its third round of layoffs this year. That is what the real world does when there isn't enough to go around, make tough decisions. Your tenure does not allow us that option so lets look somewhere else, maybe no raises for some period perhaps. My child graduated last year and I was disgusted by the teachers exercising their right not to "volunteer" for graduation, now that was a joke As mentioned above, Kinnelon is a pretty darn nice place to work, feel free to join another district if your job is not meeting your needs. The parents have been involved and supportive but i can Promise your threats and strong arm tactics are losing us quickly.
taxpayer September 30, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I think there's a difference between not being able to pay the teachers in our excellent district (#5 in the state) and not wanting to. Name calling is not really appropriate. I'll be interested to see what's in the fact finding.
Cute September 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Number 5 as determined by a 3rd rate magazine! Come on they Change the standards every 2 years. Good for realtors not for measuring education. So if you want to hang your hat on that magazine then the teachers have been over paid for the last 15 years. So if you want to reward based on that magazine they should get pay cuts when it drops. Why don't we evelauate all the teachers based on a magazine rating? What a joke!
Patch Adams October 01, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Tired of the threats, what do you volunteer for in the community? Besides it was only a threat, teachers went. 2ndly- there are teachers applying elsewhere, I can guarantee you that. The thing about teaching is the security and reliability of a salary and benefits, teachers will never make anymore or less than their salary. Which in this economy now sounds incredibly good, but during a great economy it's still the same money. I can't tell you how many countless colleagues went into private business and finance chasing "the big bucks, teachers don't make any money." If getting a 2% raise is unfair to teachers then getting any type of bonus, commission, or perk through work is unfair. You may not be getting them currently but I'm sure you have before. That was unfair.
DEAF EARS October 01, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Don't boohoo about your benefits. Many kinnelon residents own their own businesses. They have to pay for the health insurance policy, are required by law to offer insurance to their employees, AND THEN, depending on the type of policy, pay copays (usually 20-100 dollars/visit), and meet a deductible before any reimbursement and as long as they go in "network". Teachers don't understand what I'm talking about because they have to contribute a measely 1.5%?! And now they want raises to cover the contribution? So they never really took a "paycut". As far as the sob story of teachers not making a lot of money, you should have known that going into the profession oh but you do it for the kids. In a couple months your candidate Obama will be elected and his Obama care will go into effect, throw all the teachers into that pool! It's about choices, but the taxpayers don't have a choice of firing a inept teacher after tenure or voting down budgets anymore. The BOE doesn't have a choice as to how to spend their 2% cap on the children....they HAVE to spend it on your benefits.
Truth sayer October 01, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Notice how last week the union rep said KEA takes the high road, now this week KEA admits they are not taking the high road. Who are we to believe? I believe the BOE.
Joe Schmoe October 02, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Deaf Ears, you actually proved several of Patch's points. "Many kinnelon residents own their own businesses." That's awesome, I would love to own my own business and get out of this field that gets bashed non stop. After all we are talking about people showing up everyday to WORK. If it didn't cost you anything you wouldn't care how much teachers make. We don't care how much you make. How bout at the inner city I work in where adults basically devise a way to grub off the government (your tax dollars). Yet, you can complain about the people waking up everyday going to educate the youth of the town. Lastly, thank you for also agreeing with the fact that teachers don't make a lot of money. The benefit was always the health benefits, pension, job security. The benefit to owning your own business is the potential for infinite expansion and profits, which you were willing to take. The teaching profession shouldn't have any benefits or rewards according to you. Tell you what, I have a job opening for you that offers shit salary and shit benefits. Please apply. Idiot. P.S. I hate Obama.
FREE CHOICE October 02, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Shmoe, newsflash, THAT IS YOUR CHOICE! If you don't like your job, open your own business! Take the risk, save your money, put your house up for collateral, risk not taking home a paycheck at all. Deal with all the taxes, which is about 70cents on every dollar you make so you can pay for others salaries and benefits! But I take responsibility for my CHOICE. If I'm not making enough money, I go and get a second job instead of whining and noming off of others. If you really hate your job so much, QUIT-with your attitude you shouldn't be around kids anyway but that's it-the public CAN'T FIRE you because you probably have tenure. You just admitted your entered the teaching professin for the "benefits" knowing after 3 years you can sit on your butt and just collect from the taxpayers "wells". You don't get it, the well is dry! Your wrong but I feel teacher's make a lot of money for their profession-especially in Kinnelon! If you wan't to be a billionaire, obviously you picked the wrong profession. IF you really work in the "inner" city, you would think Kinnelon is Shang-ri-la. AND if you are truly trying to support the KInnelon teachers, your definitely doing the opposite by resorting to 5th grade name calling.
Antischmoe October 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM
What do you expect from a low class union member? This is why quality teachers do not need a Union. Problem with Joe is he forgets the pay increase for the past twenty years have outpaced inflation. Low salaries? What a joke here in Ktowm many teachers make over 100k per year. What a load of bologna.
Joe Schmoe October 02, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Free choice do you not realize that I was making the same argument everyone else in the private sector makes towards us? Not nice is it. If the teaching field and benefits upset you, YOU SHOULD OF GONE INTO TEACHING. And what's wrong with a teacher making 100k? 30 years in mid to late 50s, possibly & probably a masters degree. Like I said, you're just upset cause the economy is bad right now. I forgive you.
Lulu October 09, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I am going to answer my own post from 9/28. The HS is now holding all after school activities on Wednesday's which means the kids can join one club only. Can I get reimbursed as we 'paid to play' more than one activity.


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