Two years into Yale’s budget crisis, the University has laid off nearly 5 percent of its staff and cut over 900 jobs. And there may be more to come.
In another round of layoffs that began in May, after the Yale Corporation approved a tightened budget for the next fiscal year, University departments have accepted the voluntary resignations of about 150 staff and cut almost 100 more, University spokesman Tom Conroy said. The latest budget cuts are likely to be the last for the time being, administrators said. But as their effects play out over the next few years, more staff could lose their jobs.
“We certainly expect this to be the last round of cuts, barring significant negative changes to the economy,” said Deputy Provost Charles Long, who retired July 1. “But the implementation of these cuts will continue for a couple of years.”
Provost Peter Salovey deferred comment to Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel, who could not be reached for comment.
About half of the involuntary layoffs this year were managerial and professional employees, with the other half coming from Local 34, the union for Yale’s clerical and technical staff, Conroy said. Conroy said he did not know which departments had been affected specifically.
As in previous years, the options available to employees facing layoffs have depended on whether they belong to the managerial and professional group or Local 34.
Laid-off managerial and professional staff have received 90 days’ notice, Conroy said. After leaving their offices, they will be paid for two weeks for every year they have worked at Yale, up to 52 weeks. Post-layoff pay for managers and professionals doubled last year, from one week for each year of service to two.
The University will continue to provide health-care coverage to laid-off managers and professionals for up to a year.
Clerical and technical staff who have been laid off received 90 days’ notice as well. From there, they could either enter Yale’s interim employment pool, which provides staff from six to 15 months of pay and benefits while they wait to fill new job openings at Yale, take severance pay (worth one week of pay for every year they have worked at Yale) or accept a grant for more job training, Conroy said.
The interim employment pool arrangement stems from the contract Local 34 signed with Yale in January 2009, when the union agreed to sacrifice a wage hike in exchange for assurances that Local 34 members would get priority for new Yale jobs, then-Local 34 president Laura Smith said during budget negotiations in March.
Local 34 spokesman Evan Cobb said Yale has met union expectations for rehiring laid-off employees. But uncertainty abounds among the unionized staff: Not only is Yale going through one of the largest rounds of layoffs in years, it is eliminating jobs at the University’s core as well as temporary research positions and other cyclical jobs.
“What’s different this time is I think we’re seeing layoffs and work changes that are coming from restructuring,” Cobb said. “That’s why it’s been uncomfortable for folks — because all of a sudden there’s a lot of changes going on.”
But Smith said the number of clerical and technical staff is growing. Jobs will move to other parts of campus as Yale reorganizes, she said.
That is also the hope of managerial and professional staff, who have no union contract with Yale.
Conroy said University departments with staff openings are giving priority to laid-off managers and professionals, who can also sign up for career counseling sessions and workshops at Yale.
Half of the managerial and professional employees laid off last year, when the University originally cut 300 jobs, have been re-hired at Yale, Conroy added.
Still, the budget cuts — meant to close the $100 million deficit Yale was still struggling with in the 2009-’10 academic year, even after freezing construction and scaling back other expenses — have taken a noticeable toll on staff.
This year, the Yale College Dean’s Office cut both managerial and professional and clerical and technical staff, including three assistant deanships, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail to her office in July. Since December 2008, the dean’s office has given up roughly 12 percent of its staff, she added.
The good news, Provost’s Office officials said, is that the cuts approved in May are likely to be the last to come from the plunge in Yale’s endowment. The belt-tightening plan University President Richard Levin and Provost Peter Salovey outlined in February called for 7.5 percent cuts across all central departments and 13.4 percent cuts for self-supporting units. Departments more or less met those targets, though many did so through one-year stopgaps instead of finding long-term savings, Long said.
That means more work over the next few years, when departments will have to come up with long-term plans to close the gap, Long said.
“As we worked through the departmental funds we found less flexibility and capacity in some and more in others,” Long said, “but the totals were close to the targets.”
And the Provost’s Office expects to find long-term savings by consolidating some business and technology offices and sharing service centers, so even more people will lose their jobs, he said.
About 100 staff were laid off last year.