Senate passes ESP Job Justice bills

The Senate overwhelmingly passed S-993 and S-1928 on March 24, two bills that provide ESPs with due process rights and fair protections against subcontracting during the term of a negotiated contract. The Senate also overwhelmingly passed S-2273, which provides relief to both public school employees and taxpayers from ever-rising health care costs. (See Page 12.)

S-993, sponsored by Sens. Anthony Bucco (R- Morris) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), passed in the Senate by a vote of 32-2. Once passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor it will extend to nonteaching school employees the right to submit to binding arbitration any dispute regarding whether there is just cause for a disciplinary action up to and including the lack of continuation of employment. The bill protects ESP from being dismissed from employment without just cause.

S-1928, sponsored by Sens. Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Nia Gill (D-CCC) and Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), passed by a vote of 31-3.Once passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor, it will prohibit employers from entering into a subcontracting agreement that affects the employment of those covered by an unexpired collective bargaining agreement. Once a collective bargaining agreement expires, an employer would be permitted to enter into a subcontracting agreement only if the employer provides written notice to the local associations in each collective bargaining unit and to the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission at least 90 days prior to any effort to seek a subcontracting agreement.

Under the legislation, school boards will be required to give local associations the opportunity to meet and discuss the decision to subcontract and negotiate over its impact. Each employee replaced or displaced because of a subcontracting agreement would retain all previously acquired seniority and would have recall rights if the subcontracting terminates.

As of when the NJEA Review went to press on April 15, the bills had yet to pass through the Assembly. Both the Senate and Assembly are convening by electronic means during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more details on both ESP Job Justice bills, visit njea.org/justice.

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