General Updates

Longevity: for those that qualify, Longevity payments were made in this week's paycheck.  The longevity chart can be found here.

Negotiations: Six sessions with the state have been held thus, with three more scheduled in May.  While negotiations are moving along at a relatively brisk pace, we are still in the initial stages of exchanging proposals.  As might be expected, the state's original position on wages is far from what we might consider acceptable to the membership (this is normal).  This should not be discouraging, as meaningful negotiations between the parties over wages have yet to occur.  Discussions over contract language have been productive, with both sides in general agreement that certain sections of the contract need revision.  Our contract, having been around for 40 years, is what can be described as "mature", meaning that we are essentially fine-tuning language to address issues that have arisen over the past few years.  Our main concerns still revolve around firmly implementing a proper Telework agreement, securing fair wage increases over the next contract, and addressing issues related to the anticipated retirement wave in 2022 and its impact on staffing.  As is often the case, the wage pattern ultimately offered to us will determine whether we can come to an agreement with the state.  It is much too early in the process, with meaningful negotiations over wages yet to occur, so we can only report that we are still hoping to reach an agreement but we do not have a time-table for that to occur.

Vaccinations:  No they are not required as a condition of employment.  If you do get a vaccination shot then you are eligible for 1hr of Comp Time for each shot you receive (you must validate that you received the shot to receive the Comp Time).  While you are NOT required to report your vaccination status, an hour of Comp Time is available for each shot administered, if you do.

Work From Home: the most important issue is the current Work From Home (WFH) directive.  Clearly, telework has been effective on a large scale.  Nonetheless, we all know that at some point, the Governor will lift his WFH directive to all agencies.  We do not have any insight as to when this will occur.  At the very least, we still have a "pre-pandemic" Interim Telework program in place that allows for 50% telework, we expect most people will opt to continue telework via this program when the time arrives. We understand the importance of Telework to the membership, it is one of our top priorities at the bargaining table.  Our goal is to maximize employee choice for telecommuting.

-4/23/21

 

A&R's 38th Annual Convention & Scholarship winners

A&R held its Annual Convention on April 22nd.  We thank all of the members who were able to participate.  This was our union's 38th Annual Convention, maintaining a long standing tradition.  We are proud we were able to conduct the consitutionally required business of the union in a safe manner, despite the pandemic. While little business was before the Convention, plenty of comraderie could be found.  With only the Annual Budget up for consideration, the business portion of the meeting was brief.

Professional Development Day May 28th / June 4th - Enroll Now

Article 31 of the A&R contract provides that employees may request Professional leave to attend seminars, classes, lectures, and workshops to which aid in the development of professional skills.  To accomodate the membership, and in accordance with that provision, A&R is hosting a Professional Development Day webinar.  The event will be held via zoom.  The webinar will consist of four separate workshops which wiill be held throughout the day.  All attendees will be assigned to each of these workshops:

  • Balancing Work and Life in a Virtual World
  • Building Your Emotional Intelligence
  • Resume Writing and Interviewing Skills That Work for You
  • Embracing Change

A&R has scheduled two dates for this event - Friday, May 28 and Friday June 4, 2021.  Members can attend this seminar only once, and on ONLY ONE of the days.  When registering online at the A&R webiste, you must select ONE and ONLY ONE of the days, May 28th, or June 4th.

Attendance to these webinars is limited to 150 persons per day.  We expect these events to be popular and we are registering members on a first-come first-served basis.  So if you want to attend, follow the link below to register now.

In order to attend you must do two things:

  1. Register for the Professional Development Day event here; and
  1. Submit a request to your supervisor requesting Professional Leave. The request MUST be in writing, and the request must be submitted to management no less than three weeks in advance of the event.  The cutoff dates to request Professional Leave to attend the event are therefore May 7th and May 14th.

HEP Requirements Reinstated for 2021

IMPORTANT: Preventive health requirements for the Health Enhancement Program (HEP) have been reinstated for 2021. Requirements had been suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to relieve overall stress on the health care system. As doctors offices and health care facilities have re-opened with safety protocols and protections in place, it is critical that the life-saving preventive health measures of HEP continue as well.

Vaccinations and Comp Time

Most have seen the memo governing Comp Time for COVID vaccinatiion.

The gist is this:

If you get your vaccination during non-work hours or if you use accrued sick/vacation/PL time to go get vaccinated, you will be eligible for 1 hour of Comp Time for each shot you receive (coded as CVCCE) .  You will need to provide documentation that you received your vaccination to be eligible for the comp time (doctor's note or vaccination card will suffice as verification)

The Comp Time needs to be used within 12 months (Coded as CVCU).

A&R employees who work at UConn Health or for the BOR are eligible.  However, if your agency holds an on-site, employer-sponsored vaccination program, you are not eligible for the comp time. 

If you have special circumstances that don't fit neatly into the above (unpaid leave, worker's comp, etc), please see the State's Vaccination Q&A for some additional information.

No, the vaccine is not required.

Vaccine Comp Time Memo

Vaccine Comp Time Q&A

 

"Easing of COVID Restrictions"

Telecommuting, the Pandemic, and other such questions.

Clocks are changing this weekend, winter is slipping into Spring, vaccines are going into arms and COVID-19 restrictions are easing.  So it is reasonable that employees begin asking the questions about if or when state office buildings will start to open up full-time.  Honestly, we are not sure of that answer.  We do know that “easing restrictions” and “re-opening” are not the same thing.

We also know that telecommuting works!

Throughout the pandemic, the workforce has been operating under Governor Lamont’s emergency directives, which included more liberal telecommuting guidelines than the 2017 SEBAC telework agreement.  As statewide restrictions are lifted, it is likely that the workforce will be asked to be onsite at their agencies with greater frequency.  While terrible in every respect, the pandemic provided the opportunity to demonstrate that telecommuting works.  The A&R workforce has done just that – successfully carrying on the state’s business remotely over the past twelve months.

We have shown that telecommuting works! 

So at this point, telework will continue under the directive of Governor Lamont.  There have not been discussions on when or how or if this will change.  At the very least, we do expect that the Governor will grant us enough respect to hold those conversations with the unions and address the myriad of issues faced by the workforce if a return to the offices is under consideration (child care issues, health concerns, working conditions, the success and benefits of teleworking). 

We will remind the Governor that telecommuting works! 

As the world slowly returns to normal, we will do all that is necessary to ensure employee health and safety concerns are addressed.  We will also continue to push the point that telecommuting works, and that it should be maintained across the workforce wherever feasible.  At the very least, we still have an operable Teleworking Agreement with the State that allows telecommuting up to 2 days per week.  We expect that as the transition to normalcy progresses, how things are handled will vary from agency to agency.  While we expect a reasoned approach by the Governor’s Office and the Office of Labor Relations, we also expect that at various agencies such a reasoned approach will be ignored.  And of course we can predict how this will be handled by certain managers.  We will work through those situations as they arise.

 

A Few Upcoming Events That May Be Of Interest:

Saturday March 13, 9:30AM – Senator Steve Cassano will hold a Town Hall for A&R members to discuss the State Budget and other current  pending legislative issues.  If you would like to join this Zoom event, please follow this link  

https://zoom.us/j/96429809470

Meeting ID: 964 2980 9470

 

Monday March 15, 11AM – SEBAC will be hosting a Facebook Live event on the State’s “Re-investment Budget”.  If you would like to watch this press event live, follow this link  https://www.facebook.com/connecticutSEBAC/live/

               

Tuesday March 23, 6:00PM – SEBAC will be holding a seminar on the COVID Vaccine and Roll-Out.  If you would like to register to join this learning session:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScG59I9IdnwS9AlMV4jK1uoGs8j2Tt7Cf3Ekl5m3jzMDXibqQ/viewform

-posted 3/12/21