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2001-12-06

New Jersey Judge and School Board Jail Over 130 Teachers for Striking

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More than 130 striking teachers from Middletown, New Jersey have been jailed this week for disobeying a back to workorder.

The teachers are on strike to protest a proposed increase in their health-insurance payments.

Superior Court Judge Clarkson Fisher Jr. issued a back-to-work order at the request of the school board. Whenteachers continued to strike, Fisher began jailing them on Monday in alphabetical order. It is the first time inover two decades that New Jersey teachers have been jailed for striking, and up to 750 teachers could end up in jailif the deadlock continues.

The union has asked the judge to send the case to binding arbitration, which would mean the intervention of astate-appointed neutral party whose decision would be final.

But School Board President Patricia Walsh said it was premature to agree to that.

Negotiations broke off at around 3 a.m. this morning when no progress was made.

Guests:

  • Frank Belluscio, the director of public information for the New Jersey School Boards Association.
  • Karen Joseph, spokeperson for the New Jersey Education Association.

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