New bill protects PSEA members from subcontracting

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New bill protects PSEA members from subcontracting

Voice: May 2017

In school districts that subcontract key services, PSEA members not only frequently lose their jobs, but the cost-savings offered by providers who secure the subcontracts often don’t materialize.

A new bill introduced by Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) aims to address both issues, by amending current law to build in more job protections for affected PSEA members and by establishing safeguards to ensure that any promised cost-savings actually happen.

“Subcontracting is typically a bad idea, both for employees and for employers,” said ESP Region President Dawn Bandle. “This bill will make sure that employers get the information they need to make good decisions and that employees – PSEA members – get the job protections they deserve.”

The legislation would require a company seeking to provide subcontracted services to show at least three years of cost projections, the number of staff members the company will employ to provide services to the school district, and information about the company’s safety and legal track record. It would also make cost comparisons between the current and subcontracted services publicly available and direct the school board to hold at least one public hearing regarding any subcontracting proposal.

Just as important, the new bill would require any new subcontracting deal to include a provision stating that, when the company has a vacant position that provides services to the school district, it must offer that position to any school employees who lost their employment because of the subcontracting agreement before hiring any other individual. It would also permit the school district to cancel the subcontracting deal if actual costs exceed projections.

“This bill makes sense because it protects PSEA members, taxpayers, and the school districts that are sometimes pressured into subcontracting,” Bandle said. “We’re going to work hard to get it moving in the Legislature.”