FROSTBURG, Md. (WDVM) — Frostburg State University announced Tuesday morning that they would be rescinding 12 planned layoffs following successful union negotiations.
“We needed to resolve a budget issue, and it is difficult. We were struggling, but now that we were able to reach a salary reduction agreement, we were very very quick to take things off the table, and they have been rescinded,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Leon Wyden.
This announcement follows fears that negotiations would not reach a resolution in regards to FSU’s budget deficit caused by a shortage in enrollment and state appropriation cuts. Previous negotiations had ended with Local 239 American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees representatives unhappy and 12 layoffs on the board.
“We had some challenges with the ASFCME union, but we were able to reach an agreement just this morning with them,” said Wyden.
Wyden said that union representatives had “worked diligently with us and hard to avoid the layoff situation and reach an agreement that works for everybody.”
Local 239 AFSCME had previously organized a virtual rally to protest these layoffs and to request that FSU return to negotiations. Community members, students, and union representatives all attended this rally.
“It is so good to finally have those 12 back,” said Vice President of Local 239 AFSCME Blair Knouse.
Knouse said that FSU returned to negotiations about a week before the announcement.
“I hope FSU takes away from it and that we will is this needs to start a lot earlier. This whole problem could’ve been resolved before school opened if the union had been able to talk to administration back in June and July when they were beginning these plans,” he said.
Despite all the hardships along the way, he said was glad that a solution had been found.
“It brought all 12 of our people back, and it protected our lowest earners. Hopefully, we don’t have it come to this again,” Knouse stated.
FSU’s fall semester ended today, and administration is looking forward to the next semester.
“FSU is ready to move forward for the spring of 2021, we’re glad to have all are talented people back, we’re glad we did not have to lay off anyone off,” said Wyden.
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