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 was advanced by a Senate committee today.

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

“This is a smart and responsible way to protect jobs and the rights of workers at state colleges and universities,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It will help control healthcare costs for educators and other workers at the same time it preserves the jobs at a very challenging time. They shouldn’t have their jobs outsourced when they are supposed to be protected by a contract.”

The bill, S-2932, would prohibit state colleges and universities from entering into subcontracting agreements which may affect the employment of any workers 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 approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee with a vote of 5-0.