A Few More Updates

Coronavirus Vaccinations: Connecticut has started to roll out phase 1A of the Coronavirus vaccination process.  Phase 1A includes employees who are healthcare workers, long-term care facility employees, and first responders. For State Employees, the following agencies have established a schedule for 1A employees:  DMHAS, DDS, DOC, DCF, and OCME.   The vaccinations for 1A employees within these agencies will begin Wednesday 1/6/21 and will be administered "on-site" according to a schedule released by the Comptroller's Office.  This does NOT mean all employees at these agencies will be eligible for the vaccination at this time, ONLY employees who meet the qualifications for phase 1A (basically 1A is for "patient-care" employees).

Each agency will be communicating with employees as to the eligibility for vaccination as well as the site-location and time for vaccination.  The vaccine being used is the Moderna vaccine (although this can change).  Vaccinations are not mandatory.

The qualifications for the next phases of vaccination are not yet finalized.  The vast majority of A&R employees will not qualify for vaccination in Phase 1A so we will let you know as the situation evolves.  The hope is that we can begin to put this craziness behind us soon, but we are still in this mess for at least several more months.

Related Topic:  If you do contract COVID19 and you believe it is likely that you contracted it from your work environment, please don't forget to complete and submit a Worker's Comp claim (WCC Form 30C).  We do not know how this will play out, but by completing the Workers Comp Claim form you will preserve your right to make a claim if there are long-term impacts from the disease.

Unrelated Topic: A&R has secured two dates in January 2021 for contract negotiations (our current contract expires June 30, 2021).  As with all negotiations, we are prohibited from discussing details as the process plays out, but we will do our best to communicate the progress as we move along.  Financial proposals will not be exchanged for several months.  Keep in mind, we are only negotiating the A&R/P-5 contract, we are not negotiating anything around Pension/Healthcare as those items are controlled via the union coalition (SEBAC) and that contract is in place through June 2027.

A&R Convention:  The A&R Annual Convention will be held on Thursday April 22, 2021.  It will be held at the union office in Rocky Hill (805 Brook St, Rocky Hill, CT).  Most likely, this will be another event in the parking lot.  The Convention will begin at 6:00pm.

posted 1/4/21

A few updates:

Personal Leave:  Please don't forget to use your PL time before the end of this calendar year, there is nothing we can do to recover the time for you if you don't use it by 12/31/2020, it is "use it or lose it".

Step Increases/Top Step Payments:  Step Increments will occur on January 1, 2021 and show up in your 1/29/21 paycheck (yes, this is that very rare year when the start of the payperiod is actually January 1 so we will get the increment later than we normally would expect to receive it).  Those already on the 9th Step who can't receive a Step Increment will receive a 2.5% Top Step Payment on 1/29/21.

Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance: this is a new law passed in 2019 which establishes pay and job protection to all Connecticut employees relating to medical or family leaves.  The key takeaway from this: currently, this program does not apply to unionized State Employees and we will NOT have the 1/2% contribution withheld from our paychecks.  Unionized State Employees can negotiate for inclusion in the PFMLI, but we currently are not covered by this act and therefore not required to make contributions.  There are aspects of the PFMLI that are beneficial (and arguably there are situations where the PFMLI is advantageous to what we currently have), so it is intriguing as to whether we would want to join, but understand that we are currently exempt and we are not looking to change that at this time.

Telecommuting and Winter Weather:  A reminder to those on telecommuting schedules that major winter weather events do not automatically impact your work day.  As a general rule, if you have the capability to telework during the weather event, you should do so, regardless of the impact the weather event has on office operations.  Think of it this way: shift cancellations, late openings, and early dismissals are usually made to keep us off of the roads during hazardous conditions.  Those hazardous conditions will not be encountered by telecommuters. If you are deemed "essential" for snow storms and required to leave your home to report to work under a Governor's closing of the offices, you will qualify for Comp Time.

Contract Negotiations:  Our collective bargaining agreement expires June 30, 2021.  Preparations are underway to negotiate a successor agreement.  The union's negotiations team held its first meeting with our counterparts from the Office of Labor Relations in early December, at that meeting ground rules were established for the coming negotiation sessions, which will commence in early 2021.

Have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year's celebration!

 

-12/23/2020

2020 Holiday Party Pandemic Style

A&R's Social Committee pulled off a miracle of their own this year.  In keeping with longstanding tradition, and despite the pandemic, A&R held it's annual Holiday Party at the Aqua Turf!  This year, 2020, was a lot different than most - and our party was different too.  For one thing - Santa and his elves were in attendance!  A&R members were able to safely gather (truth is there was no gathering) to enjoy fun, friendship, solidarity, and holiday cheer.  Social distancing was achieved, with members lining up in their cars to safely attend the roll-through party, one car at a time.  Games were played, prizes awarded, and all to the sound of holiday music!

Thank you to all who attended. A special thank you to all the volunteers who made this event possible...and thank you to all the A&R members who donated toys in support of the United Labor Agency's Toys for Tots program.

We hope you enjoy the holiday season!!!!

Click on the link below to see photos from the 2020 Holiday Party
https://photos.app.goo.gl/L3bndyVPvLkmamHM9

Winners of the Baskets:

Wine Basket - Ana Rybka
Coffee Basket - Shiela Rittman
Lotto Frame - Lakiya White-Moore
Man Basket - Mike Kordowski
Comfort Basket - Tawny Pho
Italian Basket - Lisa Marie Cavaliere
Quarantine Basket - Jessica Silva
Winter - Noelle Bisson

The Winner of the 65" TV:  Mark Burno

1/2 Day For Holiday Party (and Picnics)

Registration for the A&R Holiday Party Has Closed.

For those attending, you will recieve a confirmation letter in the mail, you don't need to bring anything with you, we will hand you everything you need when you arrive...see you at the Aquaturf on Friday 12/4!

Half-Day Rule

Every time A&R hosts a holiday party or picnic, we have some agencies who don't quite understand the "1/2 day" language in our contract (which is amazing b/c we hold 3 events a year every year yet every time we have at least one agency who suddenly decides they can't understand the words "half day"), so here is what the State and A&R have agreed to:

A half day is half of your scheduled hours for that day...if you have a 9hr day, that would be 4.5 hrs of LPRTY time, if you have a 6hr day scheduled then you get 3hrs of LPRTY.   Then there is "pure flex"...if you're on pure flex, then you get 4hrs (we pretend it is a regular 8hr day).  So the other 4 hours for that day can be made up in any manner you wish.

Further, if the Party/Picnic falls on your scheduled day off, you can adjust your schedule for that week to make the day of the Party/Picnic a work day and therefore utilize your LPRTY time for that day.

Lastly, yes, of course you can take accrued time or PL in the morning of a Party/Picnic (not sure where this myth was created, but you certainly can take accrued time on the same day as the Party/Picnic).

2020 A&R Holiday Party

It is that time of year again...A&R HOLIDAY PARTY TIME!!!

We will once again be holding our annual Holiday Party at the Aquaturf on December 4, 2020

Many things will be the same:

We will have raffles
We will have Prime Rib dinners
We will have games
We will have music
We will give away a big screen TV  (look for the decorated tree)

...but some things will be different (yep, 2020 is definitely the year of "different").

This will be a drive thru event
Everyone will stay in their cars for the event (we will not be going into the facility)
Everyone will be wearing a mask
No guests this year as we are limited on meals

We will also have "waves" of arrival times, remember, there will be 800 cars in attendance for this event and if we can handle 1 car per minute that means it will take 800 minutes to complete our event...800 minutes is over 12hrs!!!  Love you guys, but 12hrs on a cold December day could be difficult.

Since we need to stagger everyone's arrival time, we will need everyone  to select a "session" for arrival

The cost is $20 (perfect for 2020)...and this year there will be NO WALK-IN PAYMENTS...so, you can either fill out the form and mail it to the A&R Office along with a check for $20...or...this year, you can submit your credit card number and we will ring it through...in either manner, we will send you a confirmation letter via mail.

To Register/Pay By Check: use this form

To Register/Pay By Credit Card: follow this link

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS TUESDAY NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Vacation Carry-Over

Has the pandemic put a damper on your plans?  Looking to roll more than ten days of vacation time over into next year?  You can!  Our contract allows it.  All you need to do is ask permission of your agency.  And permission shall not be unreasonably denied.  Simple as that!

Here is the contract language: No employee may carry over, without agency permission, more than ten days of vacation leave to the next year.  Such permission shall not be unreasonably denied. (Article 18, Section Two).

This only applies to the vacation time you earned this year (not your entire vacation accrual bank); so if you earned 15 days of vacation this year and you only plan to use 2 days of vacation, you may request to carry over 13 days.  We are aware that the State typically does NOT require employees to make this request, but for some unknown reason some agencies have decided to create problems where none has existed before.  Therefore, we are advising everyone who wants to carry an excess of 10 days to make the request.  There is NOT an agreed upon standard form for this purpose (sorry, DRS, you made this form up on your own and we don't accept it) so an email request should be sufficient.

The other option is to use your "excess" vacation (we certainly encourage everyone to take the needed time off), so please request vacation time if you don't want to carry any of it over into next year

[side note: A&R does not agree that the carry-over provision is based on a calendar year rather than a contract year, but the State is applying the calendar year for this carry-over provision].