First Aid for Members Receiving A RIF Notice
A certificated staff member may lawfully have his or her contract terminated or reduced for reasons of reduction in force. It is an important part of member rights advocacy to be sure that in any proposed RIF the member's affected receive prompt information and assistance from the local Association.
While the direct representation of the member's will ultimately fall to the NSEA staff, it is critical that they receive support and accurate information in the first days after discovering that their jobs may be on the line. A member may learn of a threat to his or her job security long before a formal notice is sent, or may first learn of the threat upon receiving a Certified letter containing a notice of possible termination or reduction of his or her teaching contract.
When there is rumor, a recommendation to or by the board to make budget cuts, or discussion of changes in the educational program to be offered, jobs are almost always at stake. Frequently, it is possible to identify the teachers most likely to be affected by such cuts. It is at this point that the Association and the community can have the greatest impact on avoiding the proposed losses of program and jobs. Organizing the community to resist the lose of programs may be the best single way to avoid job loss.
If formal notice of possible job loss has been issued to individuals, members need to be immediately informed of their right to assistance from NSEA, how to contact their UniServ Director, and reminded that they have only seven (7) calendar days to request a hearing. He or she should be encouraged to notify the UniServ Director of the situation at once and let the UniServ Director assist the individual in requesting the hearing and then deciding whether or not to actually go through with the hearing. If the UniServ Director cannot be reached and a day or two of the seven days has passed, contact the NSEA Director of Member Rights at once.
The member should be encouraged and assisted, if necessary, in doing the following things:
Making sure that all the documents on the KEY RIF DOCUMENTS list are available for the UniServ Director:
- Locating his or her Teaching Contract
- Locating his or her Teaching Certificate
- Locating his or her college transcripts
- Collecting his or her teacher evaluations for 5 years (for all years employed by the district, if hired within the last 5 years)
- Doing an inventory of his or her personnel file's
- Sending a copy of the Letter of Notice to the UniServ Director