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BREAKING NEWS: 90 Days layoff notification from TBR Chancellor

United Campus Workers – Communication Workers of America, Tennessee’s higher education union, has been working since last October to expand the protections higher education employees have in the event of layoffs. In January, UCW-CWA worked with Rep. Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) to introduce HB2647/SB3085. This legislation would assure public higher education workers the same rights already guaranteed to other state workers and to many workers in the private sector. Dozens of UCW-CWA members and student supporters were in Nashville Tuesday for the union’s annual Lobby Day, discussing several proposals with leaders in the General Assembly including the need for expanded notice and other protections in the event of layoffs.

“I know that today I speak for UCW-CWA members across the state, both TBR and UT employees, in thanking Chancellor Manning for his leadership on this issue,” UCW-CWA President Tom Anderson said. “Ensuring adequate notice is given to higher education employees in the event of layoffs is an important point of agreement we have with the Chancellor.  This memorandum clearly shows a commitment to parity between the rights enjoyed by higher education employees and other state workers. Chancellor Manning has set an example. We hope that UT Interim President Jan Simek will follow his lead and make similar recommendations for UT campuses and institutes across the state.”

In the document, Chancellor Manning stated his “preference that reduction in force plans be considered as a last resort.” He also said, “In this difficult economic environment, I feel it our duty to plan to provide [90 days] of notice to our associates.”

“I think that the Chancellor’s actions are a very important step forward and thank him for his leadership,” said Kaye Condit, a library employee at Middle Tennessee State University and UCW-CWA member who attended Lobby Day. “Attending UCW-CWA’s lobby day was an awesome experience that showed me just how important it is for all higher-education employees to get involved with our union and the political process. Working together we can accomplish so much.”

UCW-CWA will continue its efforts to ensure that all higher education employees enjoy adequate reduction-in-force protections.