December 7, 2001

Employees Fight Against Hiring Freeze

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President Hunter R. Rawlings III announced a hiring freeze Nov. 14 for all non-student and non-academic staff, which will affect both temporary and permanent workers next semester.

“The national economic downturn and the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11 have sent shock waves throughout out nation and abroad,” Rawlings said during his announcement.

To minimize the economic effects on campus, Rawlings, along with a Workforce Planning Team implemented the hiring freeze, which is intended to expire June 30, 2002.

Temporary staff, whose assignments ended on or after the date that the freeze was announced, will have more difficulty reapplying due to the increased restrictions.

“The President said that it looks as though we are going to have some budget constraints in years to come,” said Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources.

According to Opperman, the administration is seeking “other ways we can do our jobs,” in order to cut back before the potential budget difficulties become a reality.

Since the announcement of the hiring freeze, employees have been fighting the decision.

“All of the buildings are going to suffer,” said Kathy Smith, a full time custodian for Low Rise 10 on North Campus. “We are all going to have to move around.”

According to Smith, workers remaining for next semester will have more work in each building and will be able to thoroughly clean less often than was possible with the previous number of employees.

“We have taken the steps that we are allowed to take,” said Don Wilson, union representative for custodial workers, “to open discussions