U right to automate ramps

The plan saves money and is being enacted in a way that’s fair to workers.

by Daily Editorial Board

In a little more than a month, machines will begin to fully take over University of Minnesota parking ramps.

By slashing about 65 parking attendant jobs, the University will pocket $1.4 million a year in savings âÄî a significant amount given the dreadful state of higher education funding.

While we are sympathetic toward those who now have to dust off their résumés, the University has no choice given its financial situation. Losing parking attendant jobs is preferable to cutting elsewhere in the UniversityâÄôs budget.

Automating parking ramps is a cost-effective trend that many ramp operators in the Twin Cities have already introduced. The University is merely following suit. ItâÄôs also commendable that the University has made the effort to put some thought into the decision and try to do the right thing for its workers.

Parking and Transportation Services obtained the perspective of public and private organizations that use an automated system before making its decision. Also, layoffs will be done gradually, giving current employees the time to find new jobs.

Cuts and furloughs have been far too common at the University, but at least this particular situation is being dealt with productively. That trend should continue.

For example, instead of making claims that this decision will harm the University in the long run, the Teamsters Local 320 union should put more energy toward continuing talks with the University that could lead to moving cut employees to other campus jobs.

While laying off employees is unfortunate, the University is rightly looking to save money where it can. It must also try to do right by its workers.