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Union Challenges NYC School Layoffs

MANHATTAN (CN) - The AFSCME sued the New York City Board of Education, challenging the October layoffs of 642 nonteaching employees, "some of the lowest wage workers" in the system.

The plaintiffs say the Department of Education "failed to consider other alternatives to such a draconian decision that has caused irreparable harm."

Laid-off workers, and plaintiffs, include health aides, family workers, community associates and parent coordinators.

The union claims the layoffs violated Article 78 by, among other things, implementing a 3.26 percent funding cut across the board, including to schools that already were underfunded.

It claims the Board of Ed changed 900 employees' titles to do an end run around seniority rights, violating a collective-bargaining agreement, in bad faith.

It claims the Board of Ed hired new workers to do the same work as the people it fired, and that "Firing employees while hiring new employees to perform the same work is indicative of a bad faith layoff."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees wants the layoffs rescinded and back pay.

It is represented by Mary J. O'Connell, general counsel for AFSCME District Council 37.

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