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IWD LAYOFFS: Sequestration Cuts Blamed

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Dozens of Iowa Workforce Development employees will be without a job shortly.

Wednesday an e-mail was sent to employees announcing the layoffs. Kerry Koonce with IWD says 42 positions are being eliminated and 30 people will lose their jobs. Koonce cited federal budget cuts because of the sequestration as the motivation behind the layoffs.

She says federal funds comprise about 85-percent of IWD’s budget.

The head of AFSCME’s Iowa Council 61, Danny Homan, says IWD’s director Theresa Wahlert should have been aware of the budget situation and worked with the legislature on using some of the state’s reserves to cover the budget shortfall.

“They have the money to keep these folks employed, to continue to provide those services to the unemployed people in the state of Iowa but they`re choosing not to do so,” Homan says.

Homan adds that Gov. Branstad has failed to keep his promise to bring more jobs to Iowa, “Now if he was in school he`d be getting an F on that operation because he isn’t coming close to creating 250,000 jobs.”

Homan accuses the director of IWD, Teresa Wahlert of keeping the cuts a secret until the last minute.

However, Wahlert along with the governor's office say they have been working to minimize the impact of the reduced federal funding.

The governor's office issued this statement:

The majority of these cuts are to administrative staff, to maximize work development staff in aiding Iowans in getting back to work.

The reality is, Iowa’s low 4.6 percent unemployment rate means fewer federal dollars are made available for these services.

25 of the 30 employees losing their jobs are part of the union. They’ve been given 20 days notice.