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Public Protest At IU Over Job Changes

Last updated on Friday, September 20, 2013

(BLOOMINGTON) - The Sample Gates became a venue for public protest Wednesday as Indiana University students, faculty and concerned citizens gathered to discuss the 50 Physical Plant employees who, at the end of this month, will no longer be employed by IU.

The employees at the Physical Plant are in charge of maintaining the IU grounds and campus buildings.

Protesters gathered in a circle just inside the gates.

The protest came after IU's announcement that thousands of part-time employees would see hours reduced in order to avoid additional health care costs in accordance with the Affordable Care act.

Police were waiting for the protestors that filed into the back of Bryan Hall wanting to speak to members of the administration. Police prevented protestors from entering any offices, and told protestors the administration would not be available to speak with them. They were allowed to enter the lobby outside IU President Michael McRobbie's office in groups of two, but only his secretary would speak to them.

She told them they could make an appointment, but the person who schedules those appointments was not in the office.

Later in the afternoon Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Mark Land and Executive Vice President John Applegate went to Sample Gates to answer questions. The group, which threw a few slurs, had no questions so the two men left.

Land stressed the 50 plant workers will not be without a job and their hours will not be reduced.

IU has contracted Manpower, a career service agency, to transition the workers under their employment. While the Affordable Care Act did speed up this process, Land says, managing seasonal employees working for the Physical Plant has been an ongoing discussion.

Misty Derringer, senior staffing specialist with Manpower says all 50 employees from IU will have a job if they choose to work for Manpower.

Derringer says Manpower offers all associates medical and dental plans as well as holiday pay, which is something Land says the university could not do.

IU is currently paying $215 million for health benefits every year.

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