Before last week, Thomas DeGise would never have weighed in on a controversial issue like a strike of public school teachers. As the Hudson County Executive, he stayed far away from issues involving the Hudson mayors; his low-key, stay out of the limelight style has helped him survive in the post Bob Janiszewski era since 2002. But now that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop is trying to toss him out of office, DeGise’s agenda has changed. Now he’s wading in to a Jersey City Education Association strike.
“Jersey City teachers deserve to be paid fairly for the incredibly important work they do, and as a former JCEA member who knows what it’s like to be on strike, I fully support the union’s right to take this action today after an agreement could not be reached. Teachers deserve respect, but more than that they deserve a middle class salary and the chance to raise a family and live here in the community they serve,” DeGise said. “Instead, they have seen their take home pay be reduced year after year by rapidly rising health benefit costs triggered by Chris Christie. If we really want Jersey City to be a progressive leader, that should start with paying our teachers a fair wage and giving them what they need to educate our children. I hope this matter can be resolved fairly as soon as possible to minimize disruption to children and families.”