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More Layoffs Ahead At INL

There will be more layoffs at the Idaho National Laboratory, with the lab planning an additional 35 to 40 layoffs as part of a lab-wide personnel cutback that began earlier this year.

The station has obtained an email circulated among INL employees. It lists codes and descriptions for a total of 60 positions eligible for what the lab calls a ?voluntary separation program? — that is, employees voluntarily making the decision to leave their positions.

Amid a string of job cuts like this and several accidents reported over the last few months, is public attention hurting the workers? morale at the site?

As far as we could tell, there?s not really anger or panic around town about the state of the lab. The big emotion seems to be concern for the workers who make up a huge part of the eastern Idaho community.

?They have to worry about being laid off, so they?re stressed, they?re not focusing,? said Idaho Falls small business owner Beverly Hembre, an Idaho Falls small-business owner.

Jim Pletscher echos Hembre?s concern. Pletscher recently retired after 38 years and a handful of positions with the INL.

?The remaining employees are faced with a higher workload, and there?s an added stress involved,? he said.

INL Human Resources Director Mike Holubar said the effects of the layoffs extend beyond the folks leaving.

?There?s also an affect on the people who remain employed, and the work that moves on and continues moving forward,? said Holubar.

But it?s the future, he said, that needs to take center stage. But for Hembre, shaking the thought of her neighbors is tough.

?I do feel for them. It?s just so stressful,? she said.

Holubar said the lab certainly feels for those employees as well. He said sometimes difficult times call for tough decisions.

Nineteen INL workers were involuntarily laid off in March, only after an additional 56 employees volunteered to leave.

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