COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s prisons department has announced the need for more than two dozen layoffs connected to phasing out the state’s prison farm program.

State prisons chief Gary Mohr tells The Associated Press the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has been unable to place 28 of roughly 70 affected employees.

A layoff “rationale” filed Thursday triggers collective bargaining rights for laid-off prison farm workers and clears the way for placing them into new jobs.

The workers’ union has fought the move to close a prison farming operation that dates back to 1868. The union says Thursday’s filing will assure workers’ rights as the lay-off process continues.

Mohr announced the closing of the farms in April 2016. He says farm-related job training is outdated and farmlands are an access point for contraband.