1435 Morris Avenue - Suite 3A, Union, NJ 07083
Tim Haresign, President

AFT New Jersey Convention Approves a New Constitution

On April 26, AFT New Jersey State Federation convened for its biennial convention at the New Brunswick Hilton to approve a new Constitution and vote for officers.

The Constitution Committee worked diligently on crafting a new document during the past year. Council president Tim Haresign, who served on the committee, stated “This was important work that had to be undertaken with great attention to detail in order to improve AFT New Jersey so that it reflects the realities of the organization since the Council had affiliated two years ago. The new Constitution ensures that the Council locals and all other locals will be entitled to vote their full delegate strength at all future meetings, even if only one delegate from any one of these locals is in attendance.”

AFT New Jersey consists of two constituency divisions, Pre K-12 and Higher Education, with the Higher Education Division members vastly outnumbering the Pre K-12 Division members.  AFT NJ is unique in this regard compared to the other AFT State Federations throughout the United States.

In the election of officers, Donna Chiera - President, Cheryl Skeete- Executive Vice President – Pre K-12 Division, Lucye Millerand –Secretary and Joseph D. Amabile – Treasurer were re-elected without opposition. Sue Tardi (WPUNJ Local 1796) was also re-elected without opposition as Executive Vice President for Higher Education Division. Council President Tim Haresign (Stockton Local 2275), Bill Sullivan (MSU Local 1904), James Castiglione (Kean Local 2187), Sarah Harnick (NJCU Local 1839) and Bob Russo (MSU Adjunct Local 6025) were elected as Higher Ed Divisional vice presidents.

Three dignitaries were honored with awards at the convention: Sen. Sandra Cunningham received the Friend of Higher Education Award, for her leadership as chairperson of the Senate Higher Education Committee; retired NJ Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun received the Friend of Pre-K–12 Education Award, for his independent journalism exposing the State’s attack on the Newark Public Schools; and Charles Hall, Chairperson of Working Families United for New Jersey, received the Friend of Labor Award for his work on the successful campaign to raise the state minimum wage. Len and Anthony Yovnello accepted the Ray Peterson Pride of the Union Award posthumously honoring their late brother, Council President Nick Yovnello.

As Donna Chiera, AFT NJ President observed “Those of us who work so hard to educate students know that we need to engage with the community to initiate change.  These awards are given to our friends as a token of how much we appreciate the sustained effort it takes to hold coalitions together, to build consensus with allies and to have the courage to speak truth to power.”