Layoffs at OHSU Underway as 142 Employees Begin Getting Pink Slips

The number is expected to rise to at least 500, and perhaps much higher.

RED FLAG: A windsock at OHSU. (Brian Burk)

Layoffs have begun at Oregon Health & Science University, according to a required filing the academic medical center made with state and local governments.

The looming job cuts, first reported by WW last week, started today as OHSU began notifying 142 employees that their positions were “being permanently eliminated as part of its annual renewal process,” the filing said.

Connie Seeley, chief administrative officer at OHSU, wrote to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, and Michael Welter, rapid response coordinator for the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, to alert them to the layoffs.

The WARN Act, passed in 1988, requires employers to notify local officials of mass layoffs. For OHSU, the notification would be triggered by cuts of 500 employees or more. Seeley wrote the letter now because the 142 positions being eliminated are part of a larger bloodletting.

“This does not independently trigger the required WARN notices, but because of its strategic alignment process, OHSU anticipates additional permanent layoffs within the next 90 days,” Seeley wrote. " As these permanent layoffs are identified, OHSU will provide a supplemental notice.”

Some of the employees are members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Council 75, Seeley said, “but there are no company or contractual provisions for transfer, bumping, or reassignment which apply to these positions.”

OHSU has about 20,000 employees. Since the pandemic, it has struggled to cover rising costs.

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