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About 200 UCSD employees laid off temporarily due to pandemic

Labor Union rallies against layoffs
Rally against UCSD layoffs
Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 24, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Union workers rallied Wednesday across California after notices went out to hundreds of University of California workers who will be temporarily laid off.

About 200 University of California, San Diego Housing, Dining and Hospitality employees will be temporarily laid off during the summer months.

"Like many other organizations, UC San Diego is facing financial losses as a result of the pandemic. In particular, Housing, Dining and Hospitality saw an 85% reduction in undergraduate housing for the 2020 spring quarter, and a 90% cancellation in summer season occupancy. HDH implemented numerous cost saving measures, including hiring freezes and project deferments, but due to a substantial decrease in summer duties, HDH made the difficult decision to place some of their staff members on temporary layoff for the summer months. We understand the pain and uncertainty this will cause during an already trying time. However, we must acknowledge and respond to the challenges our campus is facing, operationally and financially, as a result of the pandemic," a representative from UCSD said.

While these employees mainly work with students, serving food, UCSD Health employees are concerned this is the tip of the iceberg and more layoffs are coming.

"I don't want to lose my benefits, I work too hard and I deserve it," Teri Taylor said.

She was hired at 20-years-old and is now a Nursing Assistant.

"For me to be able to branch out on my own and make something of myself is amazing." Taylor said she grew up in a low income neighborhood and faced adversity.

She's a member of local labor union AFSCME 3299.

The union started the day with a cacophony of honking in the UCSD chancellor's neighborhood.

Then, at noon they held rallies at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla.

"We come here day in and day out and do the work basically and to know that we can be let go at any time, it's scary, it's sad. We're in the middle of a pandemic," Taylor said.

"You don't have to lay people off, there's work here, there's work at other campuses. This is a UC system throughout the state," she added.

The University said, "DH has a tremendous appreciation for the dedication and contribution of their staff. Our hope is that the impacted employees—and the students they serve—can return to campus. The temporary layoff is expected to end in September, when HDH anticipates bringing back all of their staff members.

The university will provide support to impacted employees in the following ways:

· Two weeks of full salary will be paid during the notice period, June 15 through June 30, as part of University of California’s pay continuity [universityofcalifornia.edu] program.

· Health benefits will be maintained, with the university continuing to pay its portion of the expense during the temporary layoff.

· Individual support and guidance will be available to impacted employees through UC San Diego’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program [blink.ucsd.edu] this week and beyond.

· UC San Diego Human Resources shared information on unemployment benefits and other community resources for those whose income has been affected by the pandemic, and will continue to serve as a resource to assist temporarily laid off employees who have questions."

Union members say they need to cut from the top, not the bottom, "it is the low wage earners which are brown and black folks, [who are cut]" Executive Vice President of the Union, Michael Avant said.

ABC 10News asked UCSD what the demographics are of those positions being cut and we have not had a response.

The Union created a gofundme to support those employees being laid off.