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Message from the Chair
Permanent Job Security for Paraprofessionals
No More Layoffs
After long delays by the city Department of Education, and lots of hard
work by your union representatives, the UFT has reached an agreement
with DOE negotiators on final language in the contract for
paraprofessionals. It confirms some of the new rights won in the
contract last October and makes some new and expanded job rights and
protections for paras that went into effect on Sept. 1.
The contract takes a major step forward in the union’s drive to bring
paras’ job rights in line with those of teachers. For the first time
ever, it provides for paras such long-time goals as permanent job
security, citywide seniority and the right to transfer to any school in
The contract is the same one that paras voted to approve in October
2005, but the details of the expanded job rights contained in the
agreement have now been hammered out and settled with the DOE.
For paraprofessionals, these new protections translate into a whole new
way of thinking about their job. Union protection has been
substantially upgraded in three areas:
Except in the
event of a fiscal crisis, there will be no layoffs of paras. If
you are excessed you will have the right to be placed in a vacancy, to
look for a job on your own at any other school or, if those options
don’t work out, you can serve as an Absent Para Reserve in your school
or another school in your region. If you are placed in another school,
you will have the right, if you want to, to return to your original
school if a vacancy opens there within a year.
is now based on how long you have worked anywhere in the school system.
Therefore, when you change districts you will take your total years of
service with you. That means you are no longer tied to your current
district just to maintain your seniority. See below for how to
document your prior service.
Right to transfer
Each year, you will be able to apply for a para vacancy anywhere in the
school system. You will have this right if you move far away from where
you worked, or if you are excessed, or for any reason at all! You can
even apply to several schools that have vacancies. Or, if there is a
school in which you’d like to work that has no vacancies you can send
in an application and ask the school to keep you in mind if a vacancy
opens up. Of course, you will be expected to go for an interview,
probably with the principal, and you may or may not be hired. Nobody
has an absolute right to a particular job, but everybody is on a level
playing field to try to get that job.
In the event that you are excessed, you now have new options to
First, your seniority is calculated more to your advantage. It is no
longer limited to just your years of service in your district. It is
now based on the number of years you have served in total, even if you
have worked in more than one district. So if you change districts, you
don’t lose seniority.
Second, if you are excessed, you can be placed in a vacancy in your
district, region, borough and, eventually, anywhere in the city. Or you
can search for a para vacancy on your own and apply for a transfer.
(The Open Market Transfer Period — during which vacancies are listed —
is usually scheduled from April 15 to Aug. 7.) If you are not placed or
your transfer application is not accepted, you can serve as an Absent
Para Reserve in your school or at another school in your district.