A difficult financial situation has recently hit local Rockland Community College (RCC) hard. The college recently announced that in order for the school to combat these financial difficulties, it would be resorting to less than desirable measures of furloughing a number of its employees from its current staff.

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Details Behind RCC Staff Furloughs

The financial issues Rockland Community College is currently facing are in reference to the fact that the college is facing a deficit in their 2023 budget. According to both News 12: Westchester as well as the Rockland County Business Journal (RCBJ), the deficit came in at a whopping $3.4 million dollars.

On Monday, the college's Board of Trustees' voted on and greed to adopt the "Personnel Savings Plan" which will impact roughly "...200 faculty, administrators, and others beginning January 2024...". Currently, the furlough will subject the schools staff and administrators to take nine furlough days through June of 2024. One day will be administered from January through March, while two days will be administered from April through June.

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In their report, the RCBJ stated that the furloughs would save the college and estimated $700,000. In addition, the administrative plan will also see the elimination of a number of administrative positions at the college, which will bring the colleges savings to an estimated total of $1.5 million dollars.

As you could imagine, the financial struggles and savings plan announcement has elicited a number responses by all of those affected. The RCBJ stated that a tenured professor at the college earns an estimated $90,000 annually and the furloughs amount to roughly a $4,000 hit.


Response to RCC Savings Plan

In response RCC released a statement specifically addressing the individuals who will be affected by the layoffs. On the college's website, it states that...

...An employee who holds a position that has been abolished or not funded, and who does not benefit from a negotiated contract with the College will be placed on a Preferred Eligibility List...

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The purpose for this eligibility list will be that once the college's financial issues have been handled and positions or vacancies open again, the individuals of this eligibility list will get first dibs at the position(s). Meaning that individuals on the list would have to essentially apply, interview and be evaluated for the potential openings again. The college will also be opening counseling and outplacement resources for the "reduced employees".

Job Application

Another noteworthy response following the announcement by the college's board, came from the Rockland Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 1871. That response came in the form of filing a grievance. The nature of the grievance is essentially that the plan for the furloughs came straight through administrative actions and it was not something that was negotiated.

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While the grievance and legal advice is pending as to whether or not the college can unilaterally apply their plan, another issue could further complicate matters. That issue is that the RCC Federation of Teachers do not have a contract as of now. The last teachers contract expired back in August of 2022. A number of factors contributed to why the deficit became such an issue, but two of the main causes apparently were a failure in counting the effects of inflation as well as rising costs of energy.

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