Laid-off workers look for new posts



In the month since the University announced it would lay off 76 employees, some of those impacted by the job cuts have begun using career transition resources to look for new posts, a Yale official said. But the leader of the union local that represents nearly half of the laid-off workers said the union will continue to fight the cuts.

Seventy-five people have used the tools available in the Career Resources Center, located in the basement of a University building at 221 Whitney Avenue, so far this month. But there may be some people who used multiple resources and are therefore counted multiple times, University Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Schwartz said Friday.

“I anticipate that usage will continue to grow as people approach their date of layoff,” Schwartz said.

Of the 76 people whose jobs were cut, 40 are managerial and professional employees and 36 are clerical and technical workers, Schwartz said. University officials have said the layoffs are necessary because of a projected $30 million budget deficit and in order to increase overall efficiency.

Local 34 President Laura Smith, whose union local represents the clerical and technical workers, said that by her count, 42 members have been notified. Schwartz said the discrepancy could be due to Smith’s inclusion of workers who have been laid off for other reasons, such as the end of grants.

The union always encourages its members to take advantage of learning opportunities, Smith said. But she said the union members feel there had not been sufficient communication with the workers before the layoffs occurred and dispute that the job cuts would even necessarily save Yale money.

“As one would expect, these workers are angry and disappointed that Yale would have chosen to take this action, particularly at this time when we’re trying to build a new relationship here,” Smith said.

Members of Yale’s two largest unions, locals 34 and 35, went on strike last fall and settled eight-year contracts with the University after a 19 months of negotiations.

Smith said she believed most of the laid-off Local 34 members are filing formal grievances about the layoffs. Members of locals 34 and 35, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, and the hospital workers of Service Employees International Union District 1199 are also planning a rally for April 26 that will focus on creating a better Yale, she said.

So far, four laid-off workers, all managerial and professional employees, have been rehired in other Yale positions, Schwartz said. Twenty others — a mixture of staffers, but mostly managerial and professional employees as well — are still interviewing for Unviersity jobs, Schwartz said.

At the Career Resources Center, six computers are set up for workers to use, a table is laid out with various materials and employees can sign up for workshops on topics ranging from creating resumes to making a career map. Schwartz said 41 people have attended workshops in April, 21 have been seen in one-on-one interviews and 13 have used the center as a workspace.

The University has brought in Right Management Consultants, a large organizational consulting firm, to work on the career transition process. Right Management Vice President of Client Services Paul Stierer said his company is helping the workers assess their skills and interest to find which positions are right for them and is also aiding them in building resumes, a task he described as “the heart and soul of the program.”

The company also offers interview-preparation training. The workers also have all been given access to Right Management’s Web site, he said.

Smith said much of Right Management’s focus is on finding jobs outside of the University, but most of the workers want to spend their careers at Yale. Right Management encourages laid-off employees not to make their current employer their entire focus, Stierer said.

The Career Resources Center will continue to operate at least through early summer and the University will then evaluate the situation, Schwartz said.

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