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Fermilab layoffs expected soon
By Leslie Hague | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/14/2008 12:06 AM

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Fermilab will need to lay off fewer people than officials originally predicted.

But the cut of 140 workers at the Batavia laboratory -- about 7.5 percent of the lab's work force -- will likely be within a month.

Because of early retirements and attrition, the number of layoffs was reduced from 200, which officials had estimated in December, Fermilab spokesman Kurt Riesselman said.

That was when Fermilab got word its budget would be cut for the coming year.

Laboratory officials have submitted their restructuring and layoff plan to the U.S. Department of Energy and are waiting for its approval, Riesselman said.

He expects employees will get word at the end of this month or the beginning of June.

Even if the laboratory receives supplemental federal funding -- which Illinois officials are pushing -- it will be used to eliminate unpaid furlough days before hiring back workers, Riesselman said.

Starting in February, employees were required to take an unpaid week off every two months. Those furloughs are scheduled to end in October.