The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

UNC Printing Services lays off almost half of its employees

Move was a business, not budgetary, decision

UNC Printing Services will lay off almost half of its staff and close both campus copy centers at the end of this semester.

Carolyn Elfland, the associate vice chancellor for campus services who unveiled the layoffs Friday, said the staff cuts are purely a business decision and are not at all related to the projected state budget cuts.

“The situation with printing is that it is completely a receipt-supported operation,” Elfland said. “It’s based on the business that it does.”

The University will have to adapt to the loss of its copy centers in the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Student Union. Copy services will be moved to Student Stores after April 29, Elfland said.

After years of decreased revenue, Elfland said employees knew that layoffs were imminent. On Friday, nine of 21 employees in the offices were laid off.

“They’ve known this has been an issue,” she said.

Bernie Oakley, assistant director of UNC Printing Services, said he thinks the business problems come not from a decreased demand for printing but from within the organization’s management.

In more than six years working for UNC Printing Services, Oakley said there have been three rounds of layoffs.

“All the blame and all of the pain has been paid by the staff and not the people making the decisions,” he said.

Oakley said he’s made repeated attempts to contact various administrators about problems he sees in the organization, though officials have not responded.

“I’ve come here and watched this place just disintegrate,” he said.

Susan Anderson, university business officer for UNC Printing Services, declined to comment on the layoffs.

Though Elfland said employees anticipated the cuts, Daniel Pennington, 47, who was laid off Friday, said he was surprised by the decision.

“Up until Friday, we didn’t even know that our group was going to have any layoffs,” Pennington said. “In fact, everyone was completely shocked that we had been left out of all meetings involving anything to do with the problems at printing.”

Richard Robinson, 61, who was laid off Friday after 20 years with UNC Printing Services, said he found out layoffs were being considered at a department-wide meeting.

“It’s happened before to the printing services,” he said. “They’ve laid off people in an attempt to streamline the operation.”

Elfland said employees who were laid off met Monday with UNC Human Resources and Lee Hecht Harrison, a company the University contracts to help laid off employees find new employment.

Because UNC Printing Services is funded privately rather than through the state, the laying off nine employees will not dull the impending budget cuts, Elfland said.

Elfland says she hopes the layoffs will allow UNC Printing Services to “break even.”

“What’s going on right now is that they’re losing money. What we’re trying to do is size it appropriately for the business,” Elfland said, adding that the cuts will not affect services.

John Foust, Jr, operations manager of Carolina Copy, said he is not sure whether further cuts will come in the near future.

“It’s just kind of a wait and see kind of thing,” Foust said. “There might be, there might not be.”

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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