Discussion of furloughs continues at the University of Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - People everywhere have been laid off or hit with reduced hours at work due to the pandemic, and it’s a struggle the University of Florida may also have to face.
The Board of Trustees at the University of Florida is set to discuss a potential furlough policy at its meeting next Tuesday.
University officials said this potential policy is something new for campus.
If this policy were to be adopted by the board, it would provide the framework if furloughs would need to be implemented.
“We have no other tool to use to offset financial hardships except for layoffs which is obviously something we would prefer to avoid, but with furloughs that gives us some more flexibility in that arena,” Assistant Vice President of Communications at UF, Steve Orlando said.
And even if the Board of Trustees were to adopt a furlough policy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that furloughs will take place. University officials said there are no plans to furlough employees.
“This is simply putting in place a tool that gives us some more flexibility to help address some of the financial hardships the university has experienced,” Orlando added.
It’s a discussion that’s also being watched closely by university unions.
“Whatever the furlough policy, it will have to be bargained by the University of Florida and finally, should there ever be a need for furloughs it should be progressive with higher-paid, especially administrators, taking a higher percentage,” Vice President of the United Faculty of Florida Union, Meera Sitharam said.
The Graduate Assistants United Union also released a statement in regards to the potential policy. The letter explains what furloughs are and what it means for the union.
“Please be aware that GAU has not agreed to any type of furlough for Graduate Assistants and that the proposed policy the Board of Trustees will vote on at their next meeting does require the university to negotiate with collective bargaining units - including GAU - before implementing any furloughs,” the letter reads.
The letter also states that the GAU Organizing Committee will be meeting to discuss plans to fight furloughs and other ‘austerity’ measures.
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