Library of Congress looks to reshape workforce through buyouts, early outs

The Library of Congress and three of its unions have agreed to offer targeted buyouts and early outs to employees in September, according to a memorandum signed by labor and management officials and obtained by Government Executive.

"It's not a free-for-all. It's a targeted buyout," said Saul Schniderman, president of the Library of Congress Professional Guild, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2910, which represents 1,500 agency employees. Schniderman said he did not know which specific positions would be eligible, but about 350 people likely would be affected. The other unions involved in the agreement are the Congressional Research Employees Association, affiliated with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 75, and the Library of Congress Employees' Union, AFSCME 2477

Eligible employees must submit their applications for buyouts and early retirement between Sept. 2 and Oct. 3. Departures cannot be earlier than Oct. 24 or later than Nov. 3. The agency will advise applicants by Oct. 11 whether they've been approved for the incentives.

The Library of Congress is a legislative agency that includes the Congressional Research Service, Copyright Office, and National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, among other offices and units.

The agreement between the agency and the unions also includes briefing sessions and retirement counseling for employees to help them make informed decisions. "All of that makes the process transparent and makes the process less uncertain," Schniderman said.

In the event that more eligible employees in a position or groups of positions apply for buyouts and/or early outs than the maximum listed for that slot or group of slots, then the Library of Congress will approve applications based on an employee's seniority, according to the agreement.

Since May, at least 15 agencies across government have offered buyouts and early outs to employees, sought authority from the Office of Personnel Management to do so, or are considering requesting authority to offer early departure, according to Government Executive reports. The trend potentially affects tens of thousands of employees across government.

Click here to view a list of agencies offering or considering buyouts and early outs.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly referred to the Library of Congress Employees' Union as a professional guild.

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