Revised subcontracting bill released

TRENTON – The Senate Budget Committee released a revised version of the schools subcontracting measure Monday.

S1191 provides that during the term of an existing collective bargaining agreement, an employer is prohibited from entering into a subcontracting agreement which affects the employment of those employees.  It passed 7-5-1 along party lines with Democratic Sen. Teresa Ruiz abstaining. 

However, a committee substitute also allows for establishment of a countywide purchasing system.  Local school districts are not required to privatize janitorial or food services, but can choose to do so if the countywide system is in place, Chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo said.

Sponsor Sen. Ray Lesniak said this bill is about fairness to employees, and it allows for savings if a school district elects to take advantage of the countywide system.  There is no provision for higher education facilities in the purchasing system, Sarlo added, but higher-education schools are still covered by the subcontracting provisions.

Kevin Brown, head of 32BJ, representing 10,000 members in building services, supported the bill, and said it could centralize purchase of such services and avoid duplicative costs.  He said this would apply to districts that already have privatized these services.

Ginger Gold Schnitzer, of the N.J. Education Association, said NJEA is admittedly no fan of privatization, but they supported this version as providing worker protections and increased efficiencies.

Original sponsor Sen. Diane Allen wanted her name removed from the substituted bill, with which she was not involved, according to Sen. Anthony Bucco.

Revised subcontracting bill released