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State Says Layoffs Possible Due To New Federal Cuts

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LANSING (AP) - The state of Michigan is preparing for millions of dollars in cuts expected because of the automatic reduction in the federal budget.

The Office of the State Employer sent notices earlier this month to department and agency directors, and the unions representing state employees, letting them know that layoffs may be among the consequences of the federal cuts.

A letter to unions said should layoffs happen, they would begin sometime after April 8.

“Plans are being developed to quickly bring spending in line with anticipated revenues … which may include indefinite layoff of employees due to lack of funds, reduction in spending authorization,” the agency wrote. “These plans may also include temporary layoffs due to unanticipated loss of funding.”

The state is required to send such notices to union leadership at least 30 days before any layoffs begin. The Department of Technology, Management and Budget says no layoff letters will be sent to individual employees until the departments develop their plans by month’s end.

Employees are required to get at least 14 days’ notice.

“It’s all still up in the air,” said department spokeswoman Lauren Leeds. “Information is coming in very slowly from the federal government.”

Phil Patrick, executive vice president for Service Employees International Union Local 517M, which represents about 4,000 state employees, said the letter is unsettling.

“Obviously, they have to look at all their operating costs,” he said. “But we hope it won’t affect many employees.”

Some departments could be hit harder than others. Federal dollars represent 65 percent of the Department of Community Health’s budget, for example. The state Department of Transportation gets about $1 billion a year from Washington.

“But we don’t know yet which, if any, employees will get layoff notices,” said Kurt Weiss, spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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