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Public Employee Press
Furlough program adopted
Layoffs stopped at Brooklyn Museum
By GREGORY N. HEIRES
DC 37 avoided layoffs at the financially-strapped Brooklyn Museum by negotiating one-week furloughs for the staff.
After offering a buyout earlier this year, the Museum will offer a second one in addition to voluntary furloughs of up to 2 weeks. The union and museum worked out this plan during intensive discussions that followed the museum's decision to drop its plan to lay off 12 members of Brooklyn Museum Local 1502 the week after Labor Day.
Members were preparing a fight-back campaign. But they no longer have to take that step since the museum and union worked out a settlement to deal with the institution's $3 million deficit.
"We are gratified that the museum decided not to proceed with the layoffs," Brooklyn Museum Local 1502 President Wilson Souffrant said. "We will continue to work closely with management to do what we can to help address the museum's budget problems while protecting the jobs of our members."
The budget challenge comes as the Brooklyn Museum carries out a multi-year project to expand its facilities and programs. The museum's budget increased by 20 percent from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2016 as the expansion moved forward.
As part of its plan to deal with its budget crisis, the museum earlier this year offered a buyout, which 25 employees, including nine Local 1502 members, took.
In September, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido met with the museum's director, Anne Pasternak. They agreed to work together on the deficit crisis and to urge the city to increase its funding.
Pasternak announced the furlough plan in a letter to the staff on Oct. 14.
The mandatory furlough program requires the staff to take a furlough for a week. Under the agreement worked out with DC 37, Local 1502 members will be able to spread out their days off until the end of the fiscal year next June.
Under the new voluntary buyout, participants will receive one week of their base pay for each year of service. The buyout allows for a maximum payment for 26 weeks of base pay.
"We appreciate the museum's willingness to work with us on finding solutions to the budget shortfall without unfairly putting the burden on our members," said Michelle Green, associate director of the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept.