EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 12, 2009

Union president: IRS 'grossly understating' Andover layoffs

Union says 1,500 IRS employees, not 700, to lose jobs

ANDOVER — Charlene Kozdra calls herself "one of the nobodies" among the hundreds of workers who will lose their jobs at the local Internal Revenue Service tax return processing center this summer.

"I'm one of the ones they don't care about," said Kozdra, a 43-year-old single mother from Raymond, N.H.

She expects to be laid off by June 30, but said the IRS hasn't been counting her and many other term or temporary workers among its official layoff totals of 700 announced earlier this year.

"There will be no severance for me, there will be no buyout, and I can't apply for jobs posted internally," said Kozdra, a five-year IRS employee. "I'll have to apply from outside just like a new person on the street. And I'll get no preference. Last year we were working 12-hour days to put out the stimulus checks, and this is what they gave us."

Ron Carbonneau, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) Chapter 68, said Kozdra is one of 900 so-called "term and temp" employees who have been virtually forgotten by the IRS in its ongoing plans to close the paper processing operation in Andover.

Carbonneau, a 23-year IRS employee, accused the IRS of "grossly understating" the number of employees who will be affected as the agency converts to a system where most Americans file their tax returns electronically over the Internet.

He represents bargaining unit employees at the IRS Andover Campus, which includes posts of duty in Andover, Fitchburg, Methuen and Lowell.

"If they did not grossly understate it, they were certainly guilty of a significant error of omission," said Carbonneau, 40, of Windham, N.H. "The total job loss to the community would actually be at around 1,500 — much greater than the 700 that was originally reported by the agency in its press releases earlier this year," he said.

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