Friday, January 23, 2009

ACLU Lays Off a Tenth of its Workforce

Thirty-six staffers, ten percent of the ACLU's workforce is now out of a job. Really shocking. The loss of jobs (which are primarily in the legislative office) mean lesser influence for the ACLU in a time when we need them to advocate for new policies at the Federal Level. The Director of the ACLU responded to the story and wrote to the Huffington Post that because of the Bernie Madoff scandal the ACLU is in dire straits. Mr. Madoff's scandalous behavior has decimated many of the left leaning organizations because foundations that once were (the JEHT and Picower Foundations) are no more:

"Like many organizations today, the ACLU is feeling the impact of the tough economic climate which has resulted in a decline of our assets and reduced the donations and grants that we rely upon to fund our activities, including those from two foundations that were wiped out by the Bernard Madoff scandal. We take very seriously our commitment to our donors and members who count on us to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans, even in difficult financial times. To safeguard the fiscal health of the ACLU and ensure that the vital work of defending civil liberties continues, we have taken a number of steps to cut expenses and streamline our organization, including instituting a hiring freeze, limiting travel, cancelling conferences, and reducing non-personnel costs, resulting in savings of more than $9 million. Unfortunately, additional measures were needed and as a result, the ACLU National Office has been forced to eliminate 36 staff positions, which represents 10% of the current staff. Although we did everything in our power to avoid taking this painful step, it was necessary in order to protect our long term viability and ensure that the ACLU has the flexibility and strength to meet the challenges ahead. In addition, we are freezing salaries for the next fiscal year, which will save an additional 11 positions, and our executive director has voluntarily reduced his pay by 15%. We are confident that making tough financial decisions in the short term will serve to strengthen the organization for generations to come," said Romero.

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