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Cooperative efforts to trim 39 jobs at national WMU

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Woman’s Missionary Union has formalized the first of several cooperative efforts with outside vendors that will result in the elimination of 39 positions at the organization’s national headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. WMU currently has a staff of 150.
The initial finalized cooperative effort is with Media Services Inc. of Birmingham and will provide the technical and personnel support for meeting customer service requests for the national organization.
Other cooperative efforts are in negotiation to out-source internal operations that are technology based, such as information technology, and optional employee services, such as travel and food services. The new system of operation is scheduled to be in place March 31, 2000.
“The challenge of staying current in technology has been consuming more and more of our fiscal budget for several years,” said Wanda Lee, national WMU president. “In an effort to stabilize these expenses, the WMU executive board previously discussed and affirmed the possibility of contracting with outside vendors to assume these responsibilities.
“The goal of the board was to free up more of WMU’s revenue to support the central purpose of WMU, which is to provide the best possible missions-education resources for churches,” she said, adding that the largest portion of WMU’s revenue comes from the sale of its magazines and products. National WMU does not receive any allocation from the Cooperative Program or the two Southern Baptist annual missions offerings, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
“While this is a reasonable decision from a business standpoint, it is a heart-wrenching situation from a personal angle,” said Lee, who has assumed more leadership of the national headquarters during the interim period following the recent retirement of WMU Executive Director Dellanna O’Brien. “All of the employees at national WMU are loyal, dedicated workers. They see their jobs as a ministry and thereby are not just working, but fulfilling a spiritual commitment.
“I grieve over every position that we are having to cut in this process,” Lee continued. “My prayer for each of these employees is that God will give them peace, and a quick and clear direction for their lives. I love each of them and appreciate their service to WMU, many of whom have given decades of their lives to the organization.”
Lee said that each employee is being given a generous severance package and out-placement assistance.
*Name changed for security concerns.

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