University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

MOU Alternatives to Layoff

When, due to budget reductions, program changes, attempts to improve efficiency or service to the public, or for other reasons, the University reorganizes, consolidates, reduces the size of, or merges, current organizational units, the parties agree it is desirable to minimize employee disruption by considering alternatives to layoff and by involving employees in the planning process.

In seeking those ends, the parties agree the following actions should happen:

  1. Full information should be provided to employees and the Union as early as possible in the process of organizational changes.
  2. Input from employees and the Union should be sought regarding the implications of possible changes on future operation of the unit, work efficiency, and employee concerns.
  3. Input from employees and the Union should be sought in considering alternatives to layoff which could accomplish the stated goals of the contemplated action.
  4. Input from employees and the Union should be taken about any possible use of subcontracting, while changes affecting current employees' employment are under consideration.
  5. By mutual agreement of the parties, any or all of the above matters shall be discussed in a Labor/Management committee forum, provided one exists at the local level. If there is no local labor management committee, the Employer will meet and confer with the union on any of the above matters upon request of the union.

It is expected that changes due to program consolidation, attempts to improve efficiency and/or service, programs or functions, or due to mergers, should be planned well in advance and in detail so that notice beyond the requirements provided in Article 25 should be given to employees who may be subject to layoff. It would be anticipated that in such advance planning situations, the Employer should give sixty (60) days advance notice of the pending changes.

At that time, if it has not already happened, the affected department(s) shall meet with employees and the Union to discuss the following:

  1. Reasons for the proposed changes
  2. Possible alternatives to position elimination to accomplish desired goals
  3. Proposed classifications of and numbers of positions affected by the proposed changes.

Individual employees affected by the elimination or reduction of their positions shall be notified in the manner prescribed in Article 25.

Departments are encouraged whenever possible to provide notice up to six (6) months in advance to allow utilization of retraining. The employer agrees to provide information about available retraining opportunities to any employees affected by these reorganizations or layoffs.

At the time employees are given notice, all affected employees shall be informed of what the number, classification, and duties of the bargaining unit positions in the altered work unit will be.

Because the goal is to keep employees who want to stay at the University, any employee in the affected department may take the options provided below in order to open up positions, except for the vacancy-bumping and retraining options, which are only available to employees whose own position is abolished or reduced. These options are available only to employees in departments affected in the manner described above, and to all employees in departments where budget reductions of relatively short notice causes positions to be abolished or reduced in a way which meets the definition of layoff in Article 25:

1. Layoff/Non-Renewal Program

Eligibility

Employees are eligible if they have received a notice of layoff and hold at least a 75% time continuing appointment. Temporary employees are not eligible. While employees who previously have participated in termination severance programs are eligible for the Layoff/Non-renewal program, time included in previous programs shall not be included in any subsequent programs.

Benefits

  1. Eligible employees receive a lump-sum payment equal to one week of pay per full year of continuous service with the University, up to a maximum of 52 weeks of pay. One week of pay is equal to the regular hourly rate times the number of hours per week the employee was regularly scheduled to work on the last day of employment.
  2. Employees' medical and/or dental coverage may be continued for up to 18 months following termination of employment (but not after the last day of the month in which the employee becomes eligible for Medicare or other group medical plan that has no limitations or exclusions with respect to any preexisting conditions of the employee or his/her dependents) according to the following schedule:

    Full Years of Continuous Service University Contribution
    Less than 3 years
    0 months
    3 through 4 years
    6 months
    5 through 9 years
    12 months
    10 years and over
    18 months

The University's contribution for this coverage will be the same as if the employee had remained employed. If the above contribution is for less than 18 months, the employee may continue coverage for the balance of the 18 months at his/her own expense under COBRA.

The employee may elect to participate in the program up to the effective date of layoff.

2. Optional Leave of Absence and Voluntary Reduction of Appointment

The Employer at its option may offer employees who have not been notified for layoff in University seniority order a leave without pay or a reduction of the percentage time of the position for a specified period during which employees shall accrue seniority, earn vacation and sick leave, receive health care coverage, and be eligible for tuition waiver programs as if the employees remained employed. The employer reserves the right to terminate this leave of absence with thirty (30) calendar days notice, at which time the employee may be recalled or be laid off pursuant to Article 25. An employee returns from LOA to a position in the same class and department, but not necessarily to the same position occupied prior to the LOA. Step placement and anniversary dates of such returning employees shall be determined according to the terms of Article 18, Section 7. In no case shall such a leave extend beyond one (1) year unless specifically agreed between the employee and the Department Head.

3. Vacancy Preference

An employee can choose to exercise vacancy preference by choosing to go on the layoff list at any point his/her own position has been identified as affected, per Articles 5.

An employee who chooses the Layoff/Non-Renewal Program is no longer able to exercise recall rights.

The provisions set forth in this MOU are not subject to the grievance procedure in Article 21.