According to the UMass chancellor, who sent an email to the entire campus, the news could have been much worse.
After lengthy and productive negotiations with the AFSCME labor union, nearly 850 of our valued colleagues, including dining hall workers and residence hall operations staff, will be placed on indefinite furlough effective Sept. 13, 2020. Because their union representation agreed to a furlough rather than a layoff, they will retain their UMass benefits, including healthcare, while still being entitled to unemployment benefits. This agreement will also enable a smooth re-employment process when the campus resumes normal operations.
While some permanent layoffs are expected in the coming weeks, we are doing everything possible to lessen the number of layoffs and are currently in discussions with other staff labor unions with the hope of reaching an agreement that prioritizes temporary reductions in hours and furloughs, which will likely impact approximately 450 additional campus employees. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached and that the number of permanent layoffs, both unit and non-unit, can be minimized.