Earlier this month, the University of California, San Diego, laid off its entire theater production staff: 21 employees employed by the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The move comes as UCSD implements a new staffing plan for January 2017, meant to more efficiently divide the workload as the number of performances at the La Jolla Playhouse grows. Theater production employees are currently employed by UCSD but are paid by both the university and the Playhouse. Come January, the two organizations will hire separate staffs -- the two organizations are hiring for 21 new positions in total. Laid-off employees have been encouraged to apply for the new jobs.
The new staff will be employed on a nine-month calendar rather than the twelve-month calendar followed now. Staff will have the option for summertime work. Salaries will also be cut between 25 and 45 percent, and pensions and retirement benefits will be reduced, according to a letter written by laid-off employees, although this hasn't been confirmed by the university. The letter also said that some of these employees have worked for the department for 10 to 20 years.
The employees were given 60 days' notice before the layoffs were effective, and employees will receive one week of severance pay for each year of employment as well as preferential rehire status. Nearly 1,440 people have joined a Facebook group in protest of the university's decision.
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