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Sweeney Bill Would Protect Jobs at State Colleges and Universities

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney that would provide job protections for state college employees covered by an existing collective bargaining agreement passed the Senate today.

The intent of the bill is to provide more protections for the rights of college employees at a critical time.

“Workers at state colleges and universities should not be at risk of losing their job when they are supposed to be protected by a contract,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the jobs of those in our state is imperative. This bill will be essential for protecting the jobs and the rights of these workers while also helping to control the health care costs for workers, including educators.”

The bill, S-2932, would prohibit state colleges and universities from entering into subcontracting agreements which may affect the employment of any worker in a bargaining unit during the term of a contract in a collective bargaining unit under any circumstances during the term of an existing collective bargaining agreement. The legislation defines “employer” as a state four-year institution of higher education.

The more employment is shifted away from the university, the less accountable employers are in protecting the rights of workers, resulting in lower wages, reduced benefits, and violations of minimum wage and overtime standards.

“Over the years I have heard elected officials speak out in support of working families and workers’ rights. Supporting and passing Senate bill 2932 demonstrates those are not hollow words,” said Donna M. Chiera, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey. “Thank you, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, for sponsoring legislation providing job protections for state college employees during such a challenging time in our country’s history.”

The Legislature previously approved – and the Governor enacted into law – similar legislation that covered public school systems and community colleges in New Jersey.

The bill was released from the Senate with a vote of 38-2.