A call for fairness in layoffs

AFSCME 3800, which represents 1600 clerical workers at the University of Minnesota, calls upon the Board of Regents and the University administration to not utilize layoffs to balance the budget. The University does not function like a factory, where products are in less demand in a down economy. Instead the demand for higher education increases. It makes no sense to cut jobs when the work is expanding. This University works because we do. Yet, we have already had more than 40 clerical workers laid off since January. When our union was formed 16 years ago, we had 3,200 members. We now have 1,600. The work has not been reduced in half. Instead, our members work harder than ever to do the jobs that were previously done by two or three others. Clerical positions have been cut to the bone. There is no way to further cut them without jeopardizing the academic mission of our departments. During this same time period, P&A positions have increased from only several hundred to approximately 4,000 positions. We challenge the notion that any University employee should lose their job through layoffs. However, because we have seen clerical jobs reduced by half while other classifications have increased 10-fold, we demand that the Board of Regents guarantee fairness in layoffs and budget cuts at the University. We call upon the Board of Regents to adopt a policy committing to abide by Minnesota State Statute 43A.046 , which reads in part: âÄúIn order to maximize delivery of services to the public, if layoffs of state employees are necessary, each agency âĦ must reduce at least the same percentage of management and supervisory personnel as line and support personnel.âÄù Because our members are more than 90 percent women and have historically had our work disregarded and disrespected, we further demand that any and all layoffs that occur at the University be done in the utmost transparent manner. We call upon the administration to create a Web site where all layoffs and staff reductions, including the non-filling of vacancies, are tracked, detailing classification, employee group, department and savings gained. We further call upon the administration to require central approval of layoffs, in the same way that they require central approval of new hires. This ensures that each job, each employee, is given the respect they deserve and that frontline workers not bear the brunt of any job losses that occur. DonâÄôt balance the budgets on our backs! Cherrene Horazuk Chief Steward AFSCME 3800 Clerical Worker