S-1191/A-2974

“Allows establishment of county-wide purchasing system for certain school district services; offers employment protections for certain food or custodial services employees; and regulates subcontracting by districts and public higher education institutions.”

NJEA supports S-1191 (Lesniak/Sarlo) and A-2974 (Mosquera, Diegnan) as amended.  This bill would prohibit a school district and county college employer from entering into a subcontracting agreement for services performed by employees who are covered by an existing collective bargaining agreement.  The bill establishes requirements that employers must follow after the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement before they can subcontract a service.

Under the bill, an employer would be permitted to enter into a subcontracting agreement only if:

  • The employer provides written notice to both the majority representative of employees in each collective bargaining unit and the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission at least 90 days prior to any effort by the employer to seek the subcontracting agreement.
  • The employer offers the majority representative the opportunity to meet and discuss the decision to subcontract and negotiate over its impact.

NJEA believes that S-1191 provides a common sense approach to balancing the needs of an employer and employees.  If this bill is enacted, school districts and county colleges will still be able to privatize services.  The bill does not prohibit a school district from entering into a subcontracting agreement, but rather prevents the employer from entering into a subcontracting agreement when an existing contract is in place.  Simply said, you cannot break the contract already agreed to by the employer and employees.

S-1191 ensures that certain conditions are met before an employer can seek to privatize.  Those conditions include providing written notice to the employee representative at least 90 days prior to an effort to subcontract.  Simply said, employees should have some advance notice to prepare for the possibility of termination. 

The bill would also require the employer to offer the employee representative the opportunity to sit and discuss the subcontracting effort.  This is for the benefit of the employer, just as much as for the employees. 

The bill would also allow certain counties to choose to establish a county-wide purchasing program for already privatized food and/or custodial services. While NJEA has had concerns about county-wide purchasing, we agreed to this compromise because we believe the changes include employee protections that would address many of our concerns. We believe that the additional protections under this bill will mitigate privatization of any school services, whether they are transportation, food, custodial, child study teams or any other service that a school district attempts to subcontract.

We believe this bill will help our boards of education and county college boards of trustees and will protect our school professionals who provide essential services within a school community to ensure the very best learning environment for our students.

NJEA urges your support of this bill.