Separations to begin Tuesday Oct 12. SEBAC Negotiated Agreement Option Will Be Available

If you are in non-compliance with the Governor's Executive Order (vax or testing mandate), we urge you to speak with a Union steward! Separations appear imminent.

Separations from state service are to commence on Tuesday, October 12th.  The state's intent is to place any employee who fails to demonstrate compliance with Executive Order 13G on administrative leave, without pay or benefits.

Under an agreement negotiated by A&R along with the other unions of SEBAC, if you are in non-compliance, you can opt to preserve your specific position for 45 days.  If within the 45 day period you come into compliance, you may return to your position.  This 45 day return proviso cannot be accessed under the A&R contract.  In some respects it can be viewed as a last, good, option, which is why the coalition has negotiated on your behalf to make this option available to you. However, be aware that 30 days into the separation the affected person faces a decision, and their choice at that point may jeopardize their right of return under the Agreement.

The Agreement is somewhat complex.  It is important you read and understand the Agreement  before deciding whether or not to sign it.  Speak to a Union steward.

Read the SEBAC AGREEMENT.

COSTS of TESTS
The Agreement establishes that costs associated with testing shall be borne by the state for the duration of the Emergency Declaration.  Also, members subject to testing do not need to test while on vacation (or other extended leave), but must have proof of negative test taken no more than 72 hours prior to return.

SEPARATIONS
At the time the state informs affected members they are being separated from state service, the state will offer the person the option to avail themselves of the SEBAC Agreement. You can choose not to avail yourself of the Agreement, in which case the 45 day right of return will not be available to you. 

You do have the right under the A&R contract to dispute the separation.  We will represent your interests under our contract and argue the facts of your case through the grievance process.  Please be aware that if you are found to be in direct violation of the Executive Order, your rights at that point may become very limited.  A clear refusal to abide the testing or vaccine mandate likely represents just cause for discipline.  It is highly unlikely an arbitrator will reinstate an  employee terminated for such a refusal.

SPEAK WITH A UNION STEWARD!

To be certain, if you are not in compliance with the EO on Tuesday, you can expect to be immediately placed on unpaid leave.

We are making the following recommendations:

  • Consider becoming compliant before Tuesday
    • by having available on Tuesday morning proof of vaccination of 1st shot, or;
    • by having available Tuesday morning proof of COVID test results
  • If approached by management for non-compliance you should immediately ask for union representation
  • SPEAK WITH A UNION STEWARD BEFOREHAND
  • We will explain options available to you if facing separation

-posted 10/8
-updated 10/9

Vax Mandate - a respite

As reported in the CT Mirror, Governor Lamont has opted against immediately suspending employees not in compliance with his vax mandate.  In raw numbers, it is reported that as of Tuesday, of the 32,000 state employees under the Connecticut vax mandate, approximately 23,600 (78%) were vaccinated, 5,500 (18%) had opted for weekly testing, and about 1,200 (4%) had yet to provide documentation of any sort.  Approximately 96% of the workforce is in compliance via testing or vaccination.  Read the entire story at  CTMirror.  We note the Governor's leniency in not suspending non-compliant individuals.  We also note the high rate of compliance of the workforce and its impact on health and safety.

We are still advising members to comply with the order:

  • If you submitted records indicating you are fully vaccinated, you are all set.
  • If you submitted records indicating you have had the first dose of a two dose regimen, you must submit proof of second dose no later than 3 days after the second dose is due (generally 21 days after the first dose).
    • in the interim period you do not need to submit test results
    • however, if you do not provide proof of second dose within 3 days of when it is due, you must at that point submit weekly test results.
  • If you submitted test results, you must continue to submit test results weekly.
  • If you have not complied with the order, we advise that you do so.  Despite this apparent respite, those who fail to comply risk separation from state service; action can be taken against you at any time.  If you receive such notice, contact the union immediately so that we can best represent your interests.

- posted 10/6

2021 Holiday Party Registration is Open

The A&R Holiday Party registration has begun!  We had hoped to have an in-person celebration at the AquaTurf this year, but unfortunately, it isn't going to work out that way...so we will again hold a Drive-Thru Holiday Party at the Aquaturf on Friday December 3rd!

This year will be very similar to last year: games, prizes, gifts, hot cocoa and of course a nice meal from the AquaTurf!

The cost is $20/person.
There will be 3 "waves" of attendees so we can reduce the wait time (an 11:30 wave, a 12:30 wave, and a 1:30 wave).
A choice of registration methods : 

We will notify everyone by mail of their registration status.

Remember, by contract, you get a half-day of LPRTY time by contract so you do not need to use PL or Vacation time to attend.

Vax Mandate Update 9/29

Updated 10/1

Unpaid Leave Enforcement: the Governor announced that he has directed executive branch state agency heads to prepare for their employees to be placed on unpaid leave starting next week due to non-compliance with executive orders requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing. State employees have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 4, 2021, to provide proof of vaccination or compliance with weekly testing requirements. State agencies will begin to place non-complaint employees on unpaid leave as soon as Tuesday, October 5, but no later than Monday, October 11. See Governor's press release

Vaccine Mandate: the Governor announced today that the vax/testing compliance date has been pushed to Monday, October 4th.  We also recognize that thousands of non-compliance letters/emails were sent out to employees today.  In many instances these notifications were sent erroneous.  If this is your situation, please maintain records indicating your compliance in the event that adverse action is taken against you.  While the enforcement of non-compliance has been temporarily stalled, we anticipate that the State will rigidly enforce the Executive Order soon, so ensure that you bring yourself into compliance if you have not done so already.

No-Cost Testing Sites:  The State has now agreed to cover the cost of at least the first 4 tests if not done at a "no-cost" testing center.  We are continually told the "no-cost" testing centers are free. However we have not been able to verify this yet.  The "no cost" testing centers can be found on www.211ct.org

  1. From this splash page, select "View Testing Sites",
  2. Then select "Search All Connecticut"
  3. Then click on the yellow button which reads "Show Advanced Filters"
  4. Select "No-Cost To Customer"
  5. Then select the yellow button which reads "Apply Filters to Current Results"...this will give you the sites deemed to be free to all.

Just as an FYI: the legislature has granted approval to continue the executive authority of the Governor through February 15, 2022.  As such, the Governor has released EO14 which extends EO13G (the Vaccine Mandate affecting A&R state employees).

Telework: Reminder, the next phase of the Transitional Telework Agreement begins October 3rd.  Telework requests covering the period of October 3rd thru December 31 need to be submitted via the Telework portal if you wish to continue teleworking.  We want to remind everyone that if your prefered Telework schedule is not listed on the form, please utilize Item "12 Other" to identify your desired schedule.  You could also indicate in Item "12 Other" COVID-fragile if you are making a claim for a COVID-fragile circumstance.  COVID-fragile documentation should be sent to Human Resources.  For this phase of the Transitional Telework Agreement, individual denials over 50% Telework are not subject to the appeal process.  However, in the event an agency or unit institutes a blanket policy of denials over 50%, this would be subject to appeal.  We are pursuing such appeals at handful of agencies, ironically including OPM which is the agency that oversees the agreement.  We will keep you posted as this unfolds and update any labor actions undertaken relating to this agreement.

If you do not receive a response to your Telework Request, we recommend that you continue your current schedule.

 

Vax Mandate Update

Where we are on the Vax Mandate:

We finally have some progress to report on the vaccince mandate negotiations.  While some issues remain unsresolved and may require arbitration, agreement was reached on several fundamental issues.  This document, signed by the State and SEBAC, summarizes the positions of the parties on a range of issues.  The main take-aways from this document:

  • Employees have the ability to submit vaccination proof and/or test results via fax (860 678 5207) or via email, in addition to the Wellspark "App" (Statecovid@wellsparkhealth.com).
  • Home-tests are not acceptable. Tests must be performed and reported by a healthcare provider.
  • Those who receive their first injection in a two-dose vaccine regimen but fail to timely receive their second injection within three days of the recommended date shall be subject to weekly testing, pending receipt of their second dosage.
  • Testing can be at no cost to the employee if done at one of the "State Sponsored Testing" sites, a listing of which can be found at www.211ct.org
  • For employees who test at other than "State Sponsored Testing" sites, their first 4 tests will be covered by the State health insurance plan.

The remainder of the document lists off the items that are still being contested:

  • Whether testing should be on the employer's time and at the employer's expense (currently, leave accruals can be used to cover work time lost to get tested during the workday)
  • Whether testing should be required prior to a vacation or while on leave (currently, testing must be done weekly regardless of the situation)
  • The exact consequences, including unpaid leave and/or separation from state service for non-compliance (currently, 15 days unpaid then separation in good standing which means you can re-apply for a State position when you are in compliance with the vaccine requirement).
  • Whether time lost due to side effects from the vaccine should count against sick time accruals (currently, any vax side effects would require the use of sick time).
  • Whether time lost by unvaccinated people due to quarantine for a positive test result should be covered leave time in addition to the 14 day LOPD allotment (currently, a positive test would grant any remaining LOPD time then use of sick time would be required).

Lastly, it appears that for those who select testing and will be out for vacation or medical leave will not need to test until prior to their return (this is unclear at this time, but was presented as a clarification).