Blistan Responds to Letter from Sweeney’s Allies, Denounces Senate Prez’s ‘Serial Betrayals’ and Partnerships with Christie

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) released a position paper about the NJ 2020 budget, set to be voted on by the NJ legislature. NJEA took a neutral position on the proposed budget and did not reiterate its case for the millionaire’s tax.

NJEA President Marie Blistan responded today to the letter addressed to her today, signed by 16 Democratic senators, criticizing NJEA members’ endorsement of Fran Grenier in LD3:

“The letter addressed to me today from 16 Democratic state senators reveals a profound misunderstanding of NJEA, its members, and our commitment to achieving change and progress in New Jersey as a non-partisan, pro-education advocacy organization.

“First, and most importantly, NJEA is not an arm of the Democratic Party. Our members endorse many Democrats, because those candidates’ positions align with their values and priorities.  We are especially proud of our endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy, whose steadfast support of educators and public education has energized our members to work tirelessly for his election in November. Because of his honestly, reliability and firm support of public education, Phil Murphy will have no better allies as Governor than the 200,000 members of NJEA.

“But all of the endorsements our members make are based on policy, not party. NJEA has never hesitated to endorse and support Republican candidates whose positions and records have earned them our members’ endorsement.

“If Democrats are disappointed that our members did not endorse Steve Sweeney this year, they need to take another look at Sweeney’s record of broken promises and policy failures. It was not hard for our members to see his failures. If the colleagues who signed the letter are honest with themselves, they have to admit they understand how Sweeney’s own actions led to this point.

“Furthermore, if the signers of the letter believe that their party’s strategy of pouring millions of dollars into that one race is hurting their opportunity to pick up legislative seats around the state, they should demand that in the future their party not pick such flawed candidates as Sweeney and then continue to prop him up at the expense of the party. They should demand immediately that their party pursue a smarter strategy that is more likely to expand its base and increase its power in this election.

“It is not NJEA’s responsibility to protect the career of a politician whose serial dishonesty, frequent betrayals and long history of partnership with Gov. Christie on anti-worker, harmful legislation has revealed him to be unworthy of our members’ support. Our responsibility is to support the candidate who participated in our screening process and earned our members’ endorsement.

“We will continue to work hard to elect Fran Grenier in LD3 because residents of that district, along with everyone else in New Jersey, deserves better than Steve Sweeney in the New Jersey State Senate.”

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  • none

    This woman would not be able to find LD3 on a map! She would also not be able to recognize this guy Grenier if she was in the same room as him.

    Her pompous letter shows just how out of touch her and the other leaders are from the actual members of NJEA who live in LD3. Only a handful of NJEA members will vote for Grenier. The majority of teachers will stick with Sweeney.

    The NJEA is simply stoking up the Trump voters in LD 3 who have never supported Sweeney. The NJEA members need to question why their vindictive leadership is wasting their money on ” trumpster” who has never supported public education.

    The NJEA leadership has awakened the other Unions and the Democratic Party in LD3 to come out and work extra hard for Sweeney this election.

    • Dfa

      Please do not be so disrespectful to accuse Marie Blistan without really knowing her and knowing she is one of the few leaders of any organization that has her members interest at heart. I am a teacher in north New Jersey, yet she has inspired me and many other members to go down to LD3 and help in the election and believe me, SHE IS THE FIRST ONE THERE. We all have talked to Fran Grenier in our extensive screening process so please be careful of propagating deception

      • none

        Just proves my point. You had to come down from North Jersey to get involved in this vendetta simply because you and your other leadership friends do not like Sweeney.

        You spoke to Grenier? What was so impressive and progressive about his comments.

        Why don’t you and Blistan ask the teachers who actually work in LD 3 their opinions .

        • Dfa

          Not liking someone and advocating for my career and the kids are two different things. There are many politicians that I do not like but I dont campaign against them if at least their humanity and values for education are present.

          Greniers views towards public education are not impresive but at least honest and mostly aligned with njea’s mission of providing excellent education for all kids of NJ. As oppose to Sweeney who is completely dishonest and just plain evil.

          I have talked to the teachers of LD3, alot of them are present when we go campaigning. NJEA is not a localized union but a state union and we all help each other by traveling around the state. Sometimes we are up by Paterson and sometimes down south. I dont advocate just for the benefit of my town but for the whole country.

          • none

            You are clearly one of the NJEA leaderships handpicked elite outsiders who are coming into the LD 3 District. You are being sent because the actual teachers in the District are NOT supporting the NJEA conservative,anti-education funding candidate.

            ” A lot” of local teachers are not present ,that is why the carpetbaggers are coming in and the NJEA leadership knows this to be a fact.

            Your small,elite group of traveling teachers is not fooling anyone in LD 3.

          • Dfa

            I promise you I am not njea leadership, not that it means anything on a media post. But I did predict that once I respectfully adressed each of the statements that you posted by providing the correct facts and not assumptions of what Marie Blistan is really doing (or that woman as you so disrespectfully called her), you would eventually turn to target me, not sure why there is so much anger behind your messages. I’ll just get back to enjoying my weekend. Good night

          • none

            What facts did you provide? Ok she might be a nice person,but she is pursuing a personal vendetta against Sweeney that must be exposed.
            The NJEA leadership DID NOT poll the teachers in LD3 before going on this vendetta and they now have to bring in outsiders, like yourself to keep this vendetta going.
            If you people would just admit that you could care less about this guy grenier and are only using him to make a personal point your credibility would increase.
            Using membership dues for this vendetta is simply wrong and you know it.

          • Dfa

            Facts such as her being down in LD3. Actually knowing Grenier. Things you boldly stated as not being the case without first asking her or someone that knows her.
            I remember a while back a fellow teacher colleague of mine had a similar conversation like the one you and I are having through this medium and eventually he understood why the njea endorses the way it does and why it is the best way. I wont type it all but look for PAC committee under njea.org. (Another fact with source). Very summarized: Members from locals and county are elected to talk about their district and vote for endorsing or not within their own district. Polls are not the best way to get a good reflection of things as seen in the last national presidential race. Instead there are local union leaders elected by the teachers that represent their people. If some teachers of LD3 are not happy, it is most likely because they did not bother to go to the rep council meetings on their buildings and giving or listening to other peoples opinion. Or They didnt even bother to vote for who to elect to represent them. However, instead of this LD3 teachers difaming njea by using words such as vendetta instead of mission, and seen what they are about. They should just have a conversation with the GR person within their district, I am sure that after one solid, respectful and open-minded conversation they will recognize that NJEA is doing the best it can to maintain NJ public education as one of the top in USA since we are always in the top 3 in national ranking and it has ALOT to do with NJEA being the best union in the country as stated by other unions across the country.

  • none

    The NJEA leadership never even polled its members in LD3 about endorsements and how money ,THE MEMBERS MONEY, should be spent regarding this election.

    The NJEA teachers in LD 3 would never have told them to support the Republican candidate.

    THAT IS WHY THE LEADERSHIP NEVER ASKED!

  • Anon

    Blistan is exactly right. The Democratic Party needs to do some soul-searching and figure out what it stands for. Five of these “Democrats” signing the letter voted to destroy teachers and other public employees and helped Sweeney once again give Christie what he wanted on Chapter 78, and as a result public employees haven’t seen their income increase in over 6 years. These are Teresa Ruiz, Jeff Van Drew, Fred Madden, James Beach, and Brian Stack. Where were the rest of these so-called “friends of labor” when we needed to get Barbara Buono elected? Sweeney is the Republican Party’s favorite Democrat so don’t try to get on your high horse and lecture us about helping the GOP. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    • none

      BooHoo. Everyone is against the teachers. What a joke. All of these legislators have supported education issues.

      Stop drinking the NJEA leadership Kool-Aide and realize what would have occurred if Christie had his way.

      Chapter 78 was not the reason public employees did not get a raise. Negotiating with Christie was the reason. Chapter 78 was a compromise that allowed more money to be put into your pension fund then at any other time in state history. It also has allowed other compromises on health benefits that have now actually lowered the costs this year.

      Look it up!

      Sweeney prevented Christie from doing a lot of damage. But the NJEA leadership will NEVER give him any credit because they have a personal vendetta against him due to the fact that he does not ” kiss their ring”.

      The NJEA leadership could not pick Grenier out of a lineup! LD 3 teachers were not even part of the selection process.

      The NJEA leaderships motto is ” my way or the highway”.

      ….. not very professional!

      • Anon

        100% of our legislators have “supported education issues” – a turn of phrase about as meaningful as “all natural”.
        Getting less for less is not lowering costs, it is simply shifting them. Look it up!

        The only way Sweeney prevented Christie from doing more damage was by doing it himself instead.

        • GildaM

          Mr Sweeney show your name.

  • none

    Does the NJEA leadership think that the teachers it is supposed to represent in South Jersey, particularly those who live and work in LD3 ,are stupid?

    The NJEA leadership has recruited ” carpetbaggers” to come into LD3 from other areas of the State and pretend that they represent the LD 3 teachers. Why? Because the NJEA leadership could care less about the opinions of the actual teachers who will be voting for or against Sweeney and they fear being embarrassed by the fact that most teachers will be supporting Sweeney against that conservative Republican.

    This whole anti-Sweeney thing is being manipulated by ” outsiders” .

    …and what makes the NJEA leadership so smart when it comes to Union issues. WHY IS NO OTHER UNION STANDING WITH THE NJEA LEADERSHIP?

    The answer is simple . Other unions care about their members, the NJEA leadership cares about their own personal egos!

    • GildaM

      BS, everyone in NJ know he’s scum.

  • none

    What is so galling is that Blistan and the other NJEA leaders are using the shield of the members organization to promote their personal vendetta against Sweeney.

    They are hypocrites!

    It would be more genuine if they just came out and said they cannot stand the guy and are working against him instead of all this nonsense about agreeing with Grenier.

    The real crime is that they are using hard-earned membership money for this vendetta.

    These attacks are not about policy they have always been about personality ,but the NJEA leadership does not have the guts to be upfront with its members, especially those who reside in LD 3.

  • none

    Here is a list of the ” elite” NJEA leadership:

    Here’s a few examples from NJEA’s 990 tax forms (including benefits):
    Vince Giordano, former Executive Director of NJEA, made $623,000 per year.
    Zella Felzenberg, current regional services director, makes $507,000 per year.
    Ed Richardson, current Executive Director of NJEA, makes $457,000 per year
    Barbara Keshishian, former president, made $398,000 per year.
    Ginger Gold Schnitzer, current lobbyist, makes $365,000 per year
    Timothy McGuckin, business administrator, makes $361,000 per year.
    Marie Blistan, NJEA’s vice president, makes $281,000 per year.

    THESE ARE THE PEOPLE TAKING MEMBERS MONEY TO PAY FOR THEIR VENDETTA AGAINST SWEENEY.

    LOOK AT THESE SALARIES!!!!!

    • skizma

      excellent. these people are filthy rich….and do WHAT???? what exactly does all that income do???? improve education????? the damn NJEA ought to spend MORE MONEY on EDUCATION… Oh, like reimburse their own membership for money they spend on classroom items. the UNION does NOTHING. absolutely NOTHING. the membership literally Pays the NJEA to lobby and politic!!!!! OMG….awful….

  • none

    How much does this Fat Cat make off the Teachers?

  • skizma

    what KILLS me is this. the NJEA is fed by PUBLIC funds. PUBLIC tax dollars. and they are ALLOWED to HELP teachers work tirelessly for POLITICAL CANDIDATES??????? what a joke and farce.

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