By Sarah Krichel
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) has laid off an employee for the second time as a result of additional restructuring.
Dina Skvirsky, former Executive Director of Communications Outreach (EDCO), was initially laid off in December alongside Gilary Massa, who was on maternity leave at the time. After being rehired as the coordinator of the Used Book Room in April, she was laid off again on June 28.
The Used Book Room will be moving to an online platform, which Obaid Ullah, the RSU’s new president, said made Skvirsky’s position obsolete. The changes, to be “effective immediately,” were announced yesterday in an email sent to all Ryerson students.
“The RSU is focused on making the students’ union sustainable. We are trying to advance our services that we have here for our students,” said Ullah. “We’re trying to modernize the services that we have and make sure that we are tailoring to the needs of our students.”
Skvirsky said the news came to her yesterday, after she was called into a meeting with Ullah and Natasha Campagna, the RSU’s general manager, and told “unexpectedly” that she was being laid off.
“It seems to me like staff are being picked off one by one with no good reason and no consideration for how these actions affect our lives,” Skvirsky said in a message to The Eyeopener.
Ullah added that with an online platform, the RSU will be able to better meet the demands of Ryerson students. He said the current operation of the Used Book Room did not allow that to happen. “Students are already buying and selling their books online,” said Ullah. “There is no need for human interaction.”
The initial layoffs in December were met with backlash from several on and off campus organizations, including the Canadian Union of Public Employees 1281, the University of Toronto Students’ Union, and the Ryerson Faculty Association. At the time, former RSU president Andrea Bartlett said the decision had to be made due to financial constraints.
“After a long and exhausting battle with the RSU I was finally ‘allowed’ to return to my full-time position in late April,” Skvirsky wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “Now, three months later, my job is gone. Again.”
Ullah said there are no plans to provide Skvirsky with a full-time position in the new operation of the Used Book Room. There will only be part-time positions available.
“[We will] try to help [students] understand why this happened,” said Ullah. “That’s the best we can do. Proactive communication to explain what’s best for Ryerson students. At the end of the day, that’s why we are here.”
Ullah added that there are currently no plans for future layoffs, but the RSU will not hesitate to explore ideas that could benefit the students in a more efficient way than they currently have.
With files by Alanna Rizza