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NEA Legal & Employment Guidance

Sample Contract Language for Job Security

Educators can use their contracts to advocate for job and career security for education support professionals (ESPs), preventing privatization of services.
Published: September 22, 2021
This resource originally appeared on

You can use this language as a template for your negotiations to increase job and career security.

And check out the Bargaining for the Common Good model, an innovative approach to bargaining where public sector unions use contract fights to organize local stakeholders around a set of demands that benefit not just the bargaining unit, but also our students and the broader community. 

Preventing Privatization

The strongest language is a full prohibition against contracting out:

The Employer shall not subcontract any bargaining unit work. This includes subcontracting to vendors, individuals, and assignment of work to volunteers.  

Short of a complete prohibition, your local can include provisions that make it more difficult for the employer to contract out work.  

The Employer agrees that no person other than those normally employed by the Employer shall be used at any time to perform the work normally performed by a bargaining unit employee except in cases of emergency.  

For purposes of this provision, an emergency shall be defined as an unforeseen circumstance or a combination of circumstances which call for immediate action in a situation which is not expected to recur.

The Employer agrees that while bargaining unit employees are on layoff, the Employer shall not sub-contract any work or services, in whole or part, normally performed by bargaining unit employees, either currently employed or on layoff status.  

Whenever the Employer proposes to sub-contract work or service, in whole or in part, performed by bargaining unit employees, the Union shall be notified no later than ninety (90) calendar days prior to the letting of bids.

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Protecting Paraeducators 

Many districts employ paraeducators year to year, and while most are hired back the following school year, their jobs are not renewed annually. This leaves paraeducators to face uncertainty as the future of their jobs falls into the discretion of their district.

The strongest language prohibits non-renewal:

Non-renewal of [ESP] contracts shall not occur except for just cause. Notices of non-renewal of contract shall contain written reasons for such non-renewal. Non-renewal of contract of [ESP] shall be subject to the grievance procedure.  

If you cannot secure an outright prohibition, you can negotiate language that provides sufficient notice to the employee:

The Employer will notify affected employees and the union, in writing, the name(s) of any employees being considered for non-renewal [at least thirty] days before non-renewal. 

Know Your Rights

As a public school employee you may encounter situations where disciplinary action is taken against you. Remember, you have rights and you need to use them.
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ESEA is the largest ESP local in the United States and is a full-service employee association which is an affiliate of the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA) and the National Education Association (NEA), the largest national association representing education employees in the United States.