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Birmingham Public Library Workers Are Furloughed. Is It Ethical?

By Madison Goodgame

© Photo by Birmingham Public Library

This is an opinion column.

About a week ago, almost two hundred Birmingham Public Library workers were furloughed due to a city budget cut that was decided in August.

Mayor Woodfin presented this budget cut back in late August. It wasn’t until now that the workers, both full and part time, were actually furloughed from work.

“Every staffer and department head received a pay cut anywhere from three to ten percent,” said Mayor Woodfin.

A meeting took place where questions about the furloughed workers were answered.

“When we started these furloughs back in August and notified employees, we started with 132 full time employees, we have already found replacements for 69 of those employees. We continue to have new vacancies arrive and we are looking to replace these employees as quickly as possible into other positions,” said Jill Madajczyk, Director of Human Resources.

As someone who grew up with a single mom, whenever she was laid off from a job, we took a hard hit. It it not outrageous that these furloughed employees are upset.

Last week, the furloughed workers began to peacefully protest outside of city hall with signs and a microphone.

The workers just want peace for their families and instead feel as if they’re losing stability.

Nobody wants to be told that they don’t have a stable source of income, especially if they have worked somewhere as long as some of these people have.

The City of Birmingham needs to step it up and stop blaming COVID-19 for the shortage of money, but instead, start looking for a solution.

COVID-19 is the new reality and if we don’t come up with ways to help stimulate the economy and defend our people then unemployment and homelessness will just continue to rise.

The decisions that people make when they lose jobs are not as level-headed as those with stable incomes who are able to support their families.

This could cause a whirlwind of other problems that the City of Birmingham does not need.

The city needs to focus on finding new work for employees, reaching out to higher authorities, offering emotional support to these families, continuing to follow guidelines for safety and developing new jobs.

If we stick together and work together, our future shall prosper. Continue the peaceful protesting so that your voice is heard. Make it certain that the city finds more jobs for people doing without. Help be the solution. Make a change.

Edited by Ryan Michaels & John H. Glenn

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham