The union representing clerical workers at the University of Minnesota will protest recent layoffs Friday before the Board of Regents votes on the 2014 operating budget.
In a news release about the protest, Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, said: “It’s time to stop chopping from the bottom and start chopping from the top.”
The group is calling for a “re-evaluation” of the university’s decision to cut 25 employees from the Office of Information Technology. The university has said the layoffs were “in direct response to information technology industry changes.”
Melanie Steinman, chief steward of AFSCME Local 3800, used last week’s public forum on the U’s proposed budget to criticize the cuts — and the “appalling manner in which these layoffs were carried out.”
The employees “were given their layoff notices and told to leave on the spot,” she said. “These employees were not thanked for their service. Instead, many were escorted out of the building as plain-clothed police observed.”
The university has a different version of events. In a statement, passed along by spokesman Chuck Tombarge, officials said that “this unfortunate situation was handled with sensitivity, consistency among employees and compassion.”
Employees “met with their manager and a representative from Human Resources, who sincerely thanked them for their service and assured them that the layoff was not a result of their performance,” the statement said.
Both sides agree that 25 employees were dismissed from the department. The union says that 14 were in the clerical and technical workers’ unions. The U says that the group included “a senior manager.”