Privatizing or contracting out school services is a threat to school employees-especially support staff and the communities they serve.
By definition, contracting out happens when the production or delivery of goods and services is taken away from public employees and given to private, for-profit businesses. When a school district hires a private company to clean buildings, or serve lunch, it's taking away jobs that association members could be doing.
Talk to your association rep or officers to find out what kind of threat privatizing is in your district. Many New Jersey school districts are facing tough financial times. In this atmosphere, boards think that cutting safety and quality standards is the answer to saving money. In fact, many times they don’t even think or talk about the safety and quality issues. Support staff is often the first target for cost cutting. They figure that if they turn your job over to a private company, they can let you go and the company can hire people who will get paid less and have no benefits.
Arm yourself with these facts. It may save your job!
- Studies show two things: Safety and quality of service drops significantly, and contracting out doesn't save money in the long run.
- Public school employees have more experience and more interest in providing services in their community than employees hired by a private company. This is important since you serve the needs of students and teachers. In fact about 75% of all ESP members live in the community where they work. Private company employees for the most part come from outside the community they are sent to work in.
- Regular school staff are more sensitive to the needs of children in the community. It makes sense since support staff have developed a relationship with students, teachers and the community. Many ESP members are active participants in their community’s activities.
- Studies show that workers who belong to a union are more productive, take their jobs more seriously and have lower turnover rates. In addition the association is there for members when it comes to bargaining and advocating for its members.
- ESP members also pay their fair share of property taxes to the very school boards that would consider firing them.
- Remember, ESP members “Live Here, Work Here, Vote Here & Pay Taxes Here.”