Laid off, bumped employees face last day

Red+Flag+March+participants+plant+flags+on+the+grounds+of+the+Coles+County+Courthouse+on+Wednesday.+261+flags+were+planted+at+the+Courthouse%2C+representing+every+laid+off+Eastern+employee+to+date.

Jason Howell

Red Flag March participants plant flags on the grounds of the Coles County Courthouse on Wednesday. 261 flags were planted at the Courthouse, representing every laid off Eastern employee to date.

Cassie Buchman , Associate News Editor

The layoff notices that went out a month ago to 177 civil service employees will go into effect Friday and Saturday.

Civil service employees who are able to move or “bump” to another position instead of getting laid off will be notified after 4:30 p.m. Saturday what their new positions will be.

Civil service rules state employees need 30 days’ notice before they are laid off. During this 30 days, if they have enough seniority, they can choose to be bumped, take the layoff, retire or resign.

Human resources officer Carol Galey said people will not be told where they will be bumped to until Saturday when they are notified of what department they will be in and who their supervisor will be.

The supervisors of bumped employees can choose whether they want their new employees to bump to the new position on March 14, when spring break starts, or  on March 21, the first day after spring break.

Galey said these decisions would be made based on different departments’ needs. Employees who start their new positions on March 21 will stay in their current positions until then.

Bumping will take place campus-wide and is based off seniority.

Those who will be laid off and bumped on Friday and Saturday will check in any university or department equipment they have with their supervisors and clean out their desks of personal property.

They will also discuss their benefits, such as health and life insurance and retirement, with their supervisors.

Galey said last time people were bumped to a new position, they understood the situation.

“We all have to work together to keep EIU running,” Galey said.

She said some of these changes could be challenging, with people having to learn new duties and remaining people doing more, but she thinks everyone is up to the task.

Galey said the university had been put in a terrible situation because of the state budget impasse.

“They’re messing with people’s lives,” Galey said. “It’s not just the people they’re putting out the door, others are losing co-workers, friends, we feel bad.”

Laurel Fuqua, an administrative clerk in Student Programs, will work her last day at Eastern on Friday.

Fuqua said going through the week knowing Friday would be her last day was hard because she enjoyed her job.

“I have never gotten up a day and thought, ‘Sigh, I have to go to work,” Fuqua said.

She said the best part of the job was getting to know students and working with people in a busy place.

To help the person who would be taking her position when she left, Fuqua made manuals of her job procedures.

She said she was doing her best to prepare, but the situation does not allow anyone to train the person taking their position.

Because she is also the account technician for the Apportionment Board, the person taking over her position will have to learn these rules and regulations.

“(They’ll be) thrown into it,” Fuqua said. “They have to learn it all it a short amount of time.”

She said this could potentially increase the risk for violations in spending because there are small things someone might not know about right away.

Fuqua said she would probably spend her final day getting last-minute things done, cleaning off her desk and saying good-bye.

“I’m sure I’ll have a box of Kleenex,” Fuqua said.

She said she would have to see how hard it is to come back to the university before she decided to visit.

One of the things Fuqua said is most disheartening about being laid off is the loss of her insurance.

“You can’t live without it,” Fuqua said.

She said she is now watching every penny, but despite these challenges, she has come to terms with being laid off in the month since she got her notice.

“The Lord has a plan for my life,” she said. “It’s a perfect plan. I realize even though I don’t know, it’s all for the best.”

Mark Hudson, director of Housing and Dining, said Monday the new building service workers in Housing and Dining will have orientation Monday and be assigned to their jobs and go through training next week.

He said the incoming BSWs were being bumped from the facilities side, and some things were different, as in residential areas they were responsible for cleaning showers, and knowing people’s schedule so they know when they can clean.

Hudson said no positions were eliminated in Housing and Dining, but people were still laid off because of bumping.

He said those who were laid off would have their last day on Saturday whenever their shift ends.

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