Sacramento Regional Transit management sent out WARN notices on Feb. 12, indicating that layoffs are coming.
WARN, short for the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, is a federal law enacted 21-years ago that requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of plant closings or mass layoffs.
This latest development comes on the heels of a meeting between the union and Regional Transit General Manager Mike Wiley on Jan. 29, during which Wiley explained the District’s current financial problems. At that time he indicated that layoffs would affect all bargaining units, according to Local 1245 Business Representative Sheila Lawton.
Representatives of Local 1245 and the District are still in discussions over the layoff language.
The District expects the first round of layoffs to affect the Parts and Facilities group, Lawton reported.
California has drastically cut support for transit in the wake of declining tax revenues. A recent infusion of federal stimulus money is of little help in the current crisis because those funds are restricted to capital expenditures, not operations.
RT’s current annual budget of $140 million appears to be $16 million in the red. This gap must be dealt with by June 30. The next year threatens to leave the District facing another $20 million shortfall.
Sixty layoff notices have gone out already, according to the Sacramento Bee. The WARN notices have been delivered to an additional 240 people. Many employees, including planners, clerical workers, managers, budget officers, and customer service representatives could be without jobs by April.
The next phase of layoffs, which will affect drivers, mechanics and maintenance personnel, could fall heavily on IBEW members. Those cuts could come in June.
The RT Board is expected to take public testimony on March 8 concerning service cuts. A vote by the Board is scheduled for March 20.