Illinois University Layoffs ‘Blindside’ Workers

April 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel 

Urbana, Illinois – The University of Illinois main campus announced April 18 that it has given administrators four weeks to name people who will be laid off before the fall semester if the state government can’t agree on funding.

Administrators at the Urbana-Champaign campus instructed deans, directors, and department heads to prepare a list of positions to be eliminated, and an e-mail sent to the more than 4,300 civil-service workers informed them that layoff notices would go out July 25. Unions representing the workers, who include technicians and office, food-service, and maintenance workers, said they had been blindsided by the announcement. AFSCME Local 3700, which has 1,300 members on the campus, said it had no idea it was coming even though it had spoken with administrators on April 15. “People have been asking a lot about layoffs, and we kept telling them as far as we know they're not happening, and now that's changed,” said Local 3700 President Ann Zettervall. Dave Beck, a staff representative of AFSCME Council 31, which represents about 1,700 civil-service employees, said the union had few details about the layoff plans, but “if there are going to be layoffs we'll get ready to bargain over them." Read more

April 27, 2016

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