Layoff notices to be given out Wednesday and Thursday

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Layoff notices will be given out Wednesday and Thursday, according to an email sent out by President David Glassman Monday.

In the email he said 198 civil service employees will need to be laid off.

If the university receives an appropriation from the state by Saturday March 12, many or all of the layoff notices will be rescinded.

Beginning March 1, all Administrative and Professional employees will be required to take one furlough day per week each month until further notice or June 30,2016.

For employees who were already required to take a specific number of furlough days, these days will be added until the employee has had a total of 24 furlough days.

The specific furlough days will be determined by a supervisor who will consult the employee in accordance with what the university needs to operate and the employee’s interests.

There will be five furlough days in March, four in April, four in May, and five in June.

According to the email, a reduction in A and P required furlough days is possible if funding is given to Eastern by the state in a timely manner.

Directors and leaders of different divisions were consulted when the vice presidents and president reviewed which positions could be eliminated.

Tim Zimmer, director of facilities planning and management, said there were some things that had a more of an immediate impact on the campus and he discussed those things with Paul McCann, interim vice president of business affairs.

He said any number of people from any areas being laid off would result in a reduced capacity on campus, like during the last layoffs, when a memo was sent out detailing some services they were now unable to offer.

“If groundworkers, maintenance were laid off today, we would not be able to clean the sidewalks. We can’t cut all the BSWs, someone needs to clean the classrooms,” Zimmer said. “We need electricians to keep the lights on, need carpenters when (people’s) keys don’t work.”

Mark Hudson, director of housing and dining, said a lot of his decisions were done by seniority, or who had been in the position the longest.

“The (job) classification with the largest number of people, people with the least amount of seniority,” Hudson said.

He said he tried to figure out what will have the least amount of impact on students and the university.

“It is not a simple process,” he said.

He said he had to be very sensitive when talking about people’s employment and it was the most senior staff he talked to when reviewing these decisions.

Carol Galey, a human resource officer, said money could be a factor as well as whose positions could be removed and still let the department function.

Every civil service employees is in a position with a specific classification. What people look at when deciding on who is laid off is if the position can be done without. The name of the person who is in that position is then put on a list and given to human resources.

Galey said they look to see who has seniority in each classification on the list. The person with the most seniority in their classification is taken off that list.

“There are four or five different classifications that they work their way up in, and now we work our way down to the lower classifications and see if they have enough seniority to bump somebody out,” Galey said.

To “bump” is to take the job of someone with lower seniority.

If there is somebody who does not have enough seniority to “bump” someone they get laid off.

Galey said it is not the person that is targeted, it is the position.

Human resources is governed by the state university civil service systems which involves a lot of rules that have to be followed.

These include the thirty day notice that needs to be given to civil service employee being laid off and following the rules of seniority.

In this case, seniority does not refer to the number of years one has been at Eastern, but the number of years they have worked in their specific job classification.

Each job classification also has a pay range. If  an employee is bumped to a lower classification and their pay range is in the range of that class, they keep their pay. If it is outside of that range then adjustments need to be made.

Galey said this does not happen very often because most of the ranges are broad and often overlap.

In many cases, people who are “bumped” are moved to different offices with different duties, people, office dynamics and more.

Galey said though people did not want to be bumped during the last time bumping occurred, there were not many complaint.

“Everybody understood the situation and realized it had to be done,” Galey said. “They took a good attitude about it, they fit in really well and they actually liked the new jobs.”

Human resources does not decide where people get bumped to- it is decided by seniority.

Galey said they are very methodical when seeing where people will go.

“You’re messing with people’s lives,” Galey said. “I don’t want to make any mistakes whatsoever.”

People do not have to bump into a new position. They can choose to take the layoff or if they are eligible they can retire.

These options are detailed in a form given to those who get layoff notices. A packet is also given to those who have been laid off with links and resources that can help them find other jobs.

Galey and others in the human resources office give out the layoffs personally last time layoffs happened and hope to do the same this time.

She said it was the most compassionate thing to do and the employees deserve it, though it is emotionally draining for them.

“We’re giving it to people that we work with, people that we see everyday,” Galey said. “Neighbors, (people) you go to church with.”

Galey said she even had to give a layoff notice to her granddaughter’s best friend’s dad when the layoffs happened last.

“This is not a win-win situation for anyone,” Galey said. “It’s heart-wrenching.”


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]