Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Boston Globe Gets Early Retirement Details Before Harvard Employees

In a letter sent Monday, February 13 (see below), Marilynn Haussman introduced the early retirement packages and said "details will be available on Wednesday."  Today, Tuesday, February 14, the Boston Globe published an article (also below) that has details already.  Why this discrepancy?  Why does the media learn about this before those workers who are affected?

Dear Colleagues,

I write today to let you know that beginning on Wednesday, February 15, Harvard will offer a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (VERIP) for eligible staff members in the Harvard University libraries (Harvard Library).  Generally, library staff members who are age 55 and over, have 10 or more years of participation service, and are participants in a Defined Benefit or the Defined Contribution Retirement Plan are eligible for this program.  Local Human Resources offices will distribute personalized information packets to eligible staff members beginning on Wednesday.  Eligible staff members will have 46 days to consider this offer.  During this time, a range of support services will be provided to help each person decide whether retiring makes sense.

The Library leadership has been working since 2009, beginning with the Library Task Force and then the Library Implementation Working Group, to create a strategy and structure to support the future of Harvard’s libraries given the profound changes occurring in research libraries and scholarship in the digital age.  At every step of the way, we have been aware of the needs of our staff whose work supports the University’s mission every day.  We are sensitive to the effect of these decisions on those who steward one of the most important collections in the world, support our faculty, researchers, and students, and who rely on the University for their livelihoods. 

With these thoughts in mind, the 2012 VERIP is designed to be a totally voluntary option that will offer choice and financial support to qualifying employees who may wish to retire.  Eligible staff members will receive individualized retirement benefit statements, and will be assisted in their decision-making through group information sessions and individualized retirement counseling.  Full details will be available on HARVie (http://harvie.harvard.edu) beginning on Wednesday.

We are grateful for the service, dedication, and contributions of our library staff, and wish those who will retire all good things in the next chapter of their lives.  


Marilyn Hausammann
Vice President for Human Resources

Harvard to offer voluntary buyouts to 275 as part of push to modernize library

02/13/2012 4:36 PM

Some 275 Harvard University employees will be offered voluntary buyouts in the school’s first concrete move toward modernizing its decentralized library system, university officials said today.
Workers there have worried about involuntary layoffs, which they were told to expect during a contentious set of internal meetings in January that led to protests – most recently, the “occupation” of a library café on Sunday by students and labor activists.

But the packages offered today are “totally voluntary,” said a letter from Marilyn Hausammann, the university’s vice president for human resources.

The targeted employees are largely 55 and over, with 10 or more years’ experience at Harvard. The buyouts will be offered starting Wednesday, and employees are due to make their decisions by April 2. The packages will offer a payment equal to six month’s pay plus two weeks of pay for each year of service in excess of 10 years, up to the equivalent of one year’s base pay.

On Friday, Harvard announced a sweeping overhaul of its library system, including the consolidation of services and the shuffling of many of its 900-plus employees. The college said the changes were necessary to bring the system, the world’s largest academic collection, up to speed in the digital era.
“The new Harvard Library improves a fragmented system by promoting university-wide collaboration,’’ library officials said in a statement today. “It will enable Harvard to invest in innovation and collections, make decisions strategically, reduce duplication of effort and leverage the University’s buying power.

“As Harvard works to respond to the evolving expectations of the 21st century researcher, university leaders have been acutely aware of the needs of Library staff who support the University’s mission every day,’’ it continued. “With this in mind, the University is implementing a generous, voluntary early retirement program that will both offer incentives to qualifying employees who wish to retire and help the Library meet the needs of its new organization.’’

Mary Carm ichael can be reached at mary.carmichael@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mary_carmichael.

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