UNC workers unhappy with early dismissal

August 28, 2009 3:06:45 PM PDT
Football is at the center of a controversy on Carolina's campus, but the debate isn't over Xs and Os but rather parking and employees. Thousands of UNC hourly workers recently got an unexpected notice that the televised pigskin matchup between Florida State and the Tar Heels on Thursday, October 22 means some employees will have to go home at 3 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.

"Two hours don't sound like much [but] it could be the difference between make or break for some of our employees," said Tommy Griffin, UNC Employee Forum.

Griffin is the head of the Employee Forum. He said he has received 300 e-mails on Friday alone from frustrated workers.

Although employees say they welcome the football team's national exposure, they don't want it to be at their expense.

According to a university e-mail, UNC wants to make room for a rush of fans and avoid unpleasant traffic snarls.

Workers will either have to go into work early, give up their lunch break or stay late to make up for the two-hour early dismissal on game day.

Employees also have the option of using paid time off to make up for lost wages.

"I would hope the university leadership would look at it and come back with a better way of doing [things] and give everybody the two hours," Griffin told Eyewitness News.

But that's not an option even though the university and the community will likely make money thanks to the swarm of fans expected in town.

Parking spaces will be in high demand and the fewer people on campus the better.

Griffin said it's a reasonable plan that comes at a high price.

"It's just another one of those things -- layoffs -- it's just another negative in a year of a lot of negatives," Griffin said.

This may not be the end of the debate over the early dismissal. The State Employee Association of North Carolina says it is looking into whether the university's mandate is legal.

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