The University of Connecticut confirmed Thursday that it started sending layoff notices last month to its employees in Storrs, its regional campuses, and its health center.
Around 40 positions are being eliminated at the Storrs and regional campuses, and nine full-time positions are being eliminated at the health center along with funds for another nine per diem employees, who are paid by the day. The health center employees impacted include dental assistants, lab techs, radiology specialists, a podiatrist, and a dentist.
The university approved a $2.3 billion budget in June, requiring it to close a $28.8 million budget gap. University officials said at that time they expected to close the budget gap with layoffs.
“This came as a result of restructuring and reorganizations within units and departments, and the elimination of positions that are no longer necessary,” UConn Spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said Thursday in an email.
But the layoffs don’t necessarily close the budget gap. The changes will result in a $4.7 million savings at Storrs and the regional campuses, and about $450,000 at UConn Health.
The notice sent to workers Wednesday at the UConn Health Center cited “lack of work” as the reason it would be eliminating the positions Sept. 30.
“This action has become necessary due to lack of work,” the notice says. “This layoff is not a reflection of the quality of service you have provided.”
SEIU 1199 New England, the union which represents the workers at the health center, plans to try to avoid the layoffs.
“In the coming weeks we will be meeting with UConn Health Center to discuss possible alternative proposals that could avoid a layoff, mitigate the impact on the employees, and possible retaining options,” Jennifer Schneider, a spokeswoman for SEIU 1199 New England, said.
The health center employees work under the Correctional Managed Health Care Division, which provides health services at 16 Department of Correction facilities statewide, at John Dempsey Hospital, and at 31 DOC-contracted halfway houses.
The positions being eliminated at Storrs and the regional campuses include technology service positions, operation support workers, a marketing coordinator, a network technician, a clerk-typist, a program director, and a business manager.
“No faculty positions are being eliminated, and there is no direct impact to students or UConn’s academic mission. No additional reductions are anticipated at this time,” Reitz said.
She said only two of the notices went to employees who are not members of a bargaining unit. The notices were received by employees during the July 20 and Aug. 11 timeframe.
For those employees who are members of collective bargaining units, their unions have been notified appropriately and are working with each affected employee to assist under the terms of their contract, Reitz added in a statement.