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Judge Rejects Request to Halt Layoffs

Orange County - A judge rejected a request last Friday made by a county employees union to stop the layoffs of about 200 social service employees, many of them were already notified last week that they would lose their jobs.

The layoffs, which is a result of a steep drop in the state funding, will continue as planned, with certain social workers, welfare eligibility technicians, secretaries, and supervisors working their last day on January 19.

Union attorneys have argued that the county did not sufficiently show the need for the cuts and that the layoffs would cause irreversible harm.

Richard Levine and Ken Yuwiler, who are representing the union, also questioned why some of the money worth $300 million in the general fund of the county could not aid in preventing job losses.

Judge Robert J. Moses declared that managerial decisions were best left to the supervisors of the county, rather than union officials, and that social workers may object to the cuts by means of the grievance process of the union. Earlier this week, the union has served the social service agency with a grievance regarding the layoffs.

101 probationary hires were given pink slips and 89 more workers were laid off last Monday. Approximately 4,000 remaining social service workers are required to take two weeks off without pay.

The agency, which gets 89% of its funding from the federal and state governments, is struggling with a shortfall of $33 million this fiscal year.

The county still deals with a lawsuit from the OCEA. The two sides will go back to court on January 27.

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