Robert Kern Curtis
287 Hamilton Place
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601-3614
Voice: (201) 489-0354
Facsimile: (201) 343-1935

November 9, 1999

Letters to the Editor
150 River Street
New Jersey 07601

Dear Sir,

I read with great interest today's article by Scott Fallon entitled "Law serves teachers in contract dispute" about teachers in Wayne and Waldwick. I was particularly amused by the spin put on N.J.S.A. 18A:25-3 by Frank Belluscio and the State School Boards Association. Rather than mandating that public schools, as well as state offices and courts, be closed on state holidays, as many states do, New Jersey's legislature, in respect of our "home rule doctrine," permits local school boards to have their schools open on state holidays under certain conditions, namely, that public employees not be required to work on those days.

If the legislature should do anything, it should require that schools be closed on state holidays, so that the holidays can be appropriately observed by all students and teachers.

While it is not illegal for teachers without a contract to strike in New Jersey, the state judiciary is far too willing to issue injunctions "for the public interest" to force teachers to provide their services when no contractual agreement has been reached. What the legislature should do is to respect the right of teachers without a contract to withhold their services under the age-old doctrine "no contract, no work." This approach would really be in the public interest and allow true collective negotiations to progress.

Yours truly,




Robert Kern Curtis
President, Hackensack Education Association
Attorney at Law of New Jersey