CCRI to bring back some laid-off employees, restore pay increases

COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE Island will bring back some previously laid-off employees and restore pay increases for staff. / COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND
COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND will bring back some previously laid-off employees and restore pay increases for staff. / COURTESY COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF RHODE ISLAND

WARWICK – Community College of Rhode Island President Meghan L. Hughes announced late Thursday that the college will bring back some previously laid-off employees and restore salary increases for staff.

CCRI, through a partnership with the R.I. Department of Health and the R.I. Department of Administration, reassigned Educational Support Professionals Association staff members who were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic but assisted the state with contact-tracing efforts. CCRI spokesperson Amy Kempe told Providence Business News that about 27 full-time ESPA employees will be brought back to CCRI.

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Before the start of the academic year, CCRI laid off 122 part-time employees and 45-full-time employees due to financial restraints inflicted on the community college, including declined enrollment, as a result of the pandemic. However, Kempe said the final full-time employee layoff count at CCRI was less “due to some retirements, reassignments within the college and seniority issues.”

Kempe also said the part-time employees who were laid off will not be brought back.

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Hughes also said that the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education recently approved reinstating the 2021 fiscal year salary increases for CCRI’s Faculty Association and the Professional Staff Association unions. Hughes said the salary increases will be retroactive, per each collective bargaining agreement.

The previously announced salary reductions taken by vice presidents, associate vice presidents and Hughes will not be restored for the current fiscal year, Hughes said.

CCRI will also resume hiring for critical positions, Hughes said. The positions of chief information officer, academics dean, student advisers, payroll staff and information technology staff, among others, have been prioritized by the college.

“While these measures are welcome news, we are mindful of the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, particularly with respect to the expected downward pressure on our enrollment and state budgetary decisions,” Hughes said. “For those reasons, we will continue to operate under constrained measures and employ conservative financial practices for the near future.”

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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