What are my layoff rights? Brochure
Fear of layoff
With all of the talks about budget cuts, many CTs are calling the union office about possible layoffs.
No need for panic! We can’t know the future. However, as we’ve learned from previous times when the University faced economic problems, receiving layoff, displacement or bump notices does not mean that all the affected CTs will be out of a job.
If you are told that your unit is considering or planning to eliminate your position, don’t panic. You may not be the appropriate person to be laid off.
Sometimes supervisors are unfamiliar with our Contract and cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety by providing premature or incorrect “information,” CTU Contract Administrator Dan McNeil said.
Even if you are the appropriate person to be laid off in your unit, he said, you will probably be placed in another University position. When expecting layoffs, the University holds some positions vacant for CTs who end up in layoff or bypass status.
“It’s important that CTs realize that a supervisor’s opinion or a department’s ‘plan’ regarding layoffs does not supersede our Contract,” he said.
Eliminating a position is very different from a layoff. When a department eliminates a CT position, the least senior employee in the structural unit at that grade level is to receive the official layoff notice—not the CT whose position is being eliminated.
The notice must be received by the employee from Human Resource Services (HRS) 60 days prior to the actual layoff. Sixty days give the CT, the Union and the University time to explore all of the options.
So, what is the first thing a CT should do when she or he receives an official layoff notice from HR?
Contact your UR! The 60-day window before actual layoff keeps the CT in the current position while various options are explored. However, you should not try to sort out these options alone. Over the years, members have reported feeling pressured to drop to a part-time or lower level position when they receive a layoff notice. While either of these actions can be considered, they may not be in your best interest. Make sure you talk to your UR or the CTU office before you agree to anything or go to HRS to discuss your job qualifications and options.
What are your options? If you are on layoff status, you must accept the next vacant position in your grade level for which you are qualified. This is not an option. If a vacant position is not available, you will be given several alternatives. You will be asked if you will: exercise your seniority rights to bump a less senior CT in your current grade level; accept a vacant position by descending order to a mutually agreed upon level; exercise your seniority rights to replace a less senior CT by descending order to a mutually agreeable level; and/or accept a part-time position. The Union strongly urges you to prioritize keeping your current grade level and full-time status. We also urge you to call your union after meeting with HRS. HRS officials try to make the procedure flow smoothly. However, the easiest solution for them may not work for you. It is important that you check your understanding of your options with people who are looking out for your specific interests.
Prepare! Trying to determine who has less seniority and where exactly those individuals are located in a particular unit or elsewhere on campus is an exercise in futility. Individuals retire, promote, take other jobs. If mass layoffs ever did happen, the landscape would change overwhelmingly and each case would need to be handled separately. However, it is possible to make some preparations:
- Make sure your resume is updated and complete. Specifically list all the skills that qualify you for any job you might conceivably be able to do on campus. Do not assume that your skills can be logically deduced from a list of tasks for which you are responsible.Take advantage of resume and interview support services. Call Human Resource Services at 353-3720 and ask to set up an appointment with an analyst to review your resume.
- Submit positive materials to your personnel file. Any letters of appreciation, certificates of completion, awards, etc., should be placed in your file. You should also review your file to make sure that inappropriate materials are not in it. To set up an appointment to review your file, contact Rosie Ovenhouse at 884-0129. Contact your UR if you are concerned about anything you find in your file.
- Update your skills. Take advantage of educational opportunities and training. Although supervisors should be able to see the advantages of having educated employees with up-to-date skills, some do not. If your office is too busy—or your unit managers too shortsighted—to offer released time, find another way! Look into evening or internet classes. Also look at the various training options at elevateU.
Making sure that your skills are updated, your resume is complete and your personnel file accurately reflects your work is a great way to remain secure in your employment, whether or not layoffs ever become a reality.
Where will the work go? If CTs are laid off, where is the work going? This is a crucial question. Are departments creating “not to do” lists and eliminating areas of service and support? If they are laying off CTs, the answer should be YES!
“Layoff is defined as a reduction in the workforce,” according to the first sentence of Article 18 of our Contract.
A CT cannot be laid off for any other reason: not retaliation, not punishment, not convenience, not previous grievances or disciplinary charges.
A department that thinks it can replace a CT with student, temporary or on-call employees is mistaken. To do so would be not to reduce but to transfer work from our members to others, a clear violation of our Contract.
In the same way, it is inappropriate for a laid off CT’s work to be picked up by supervisors or APs. The CTU is committed to fighting the erosion of our bargaining unit should we see it happening. Of course, the only way for us to monitor these situations is for every CT to be vigilant about protecting CT work for CTs.
If you see work that is normally done by CTs being assigned to individuals outside of our bargaining unit, call your UR or the CTU office at once! If you are concerned about being laid off, make a list of all of your job duties. We can use the list if it later appears that those duties are being assigned to others outside of the bargaining unit.
How much more can we take? Can the remaining CTs pick up the work of someone who is laid off? Based on conversations with CTs, it seems that just about everyone is working at capacity.
“Management can assign duties to a CT if they fit within the parameters of the job classification,” McNeil said, “but it is unreasonable to expect one CT to do the jobs of two people—or even for two CTs to each add on half the duties of a regular CT.”
We have work overload forms available for supervisor prioritization of unreasonable CT workloads. McNeil asks CTs who find themselves in this position to contact their UR or the CTU office for assistance. It is especially important for the Union to be able to monitor and address instances of work overload when we are being told that CTs may be laid off.
And remember, we need to be paid for all the time we put in. If every 40-hour CT worked one hour per week “off the books,” it would deny a job to 47.5 full-time CTs. To protect our jobs and those of our coworkers, it is crucially important—now more than ever—that we take our contractually guaranteed breaks and lunch hours.
Even with all of our contractual protections, some CTs are laid off even during good economic times (usually technicians with skills that don’t easily transfer to other positions). However, the provisions of our Contract make laying off CTs very difficult. We worked hard to get this language into the Contract, and we work hard to keep it every time we go into negotiations. Now, during these times of economic uncertainty, we must be especially watchful to make sure that we do not allow it to be weakened.
Adapted and updated from “Layoff update,” CT News, April 2009, p. 1.