Good News

Let's start with the obvious good news...your 1/29/2021 paycheck should reflect either a "Step" increase or a Top Step Payment!  This will conclude any raises for our current contract which expires on 6/30/21.  We have begun negotiations for our successor agreement and we held 2 negotiation sessions with the State in January.  We will meet with the State again in mid-February.  So far, our discussions have been helpful but uneventful; we will keep you up to date but there really isn't anything to report at this time.

UPDATED WITH NEW DATE ADDED...Skiing and Tubing March 6 at Powder Ridge:  Yep, we are sick of being indoors too, so the A&R social committee has put together a combination Ski or Tubing outing at Powder Ridge...this isn't really an event, we are offering a reduced price for skiing/snowboarding and/or tubing at Powder Ridge.  If you sign up on-line through A&R (using this link), you will get $15 off an all day pass for skiing/snowboard or you can sign up for $15 off Snow Tubing.

Tubing for 11AM March 6 sold out quickly, so we have added tickets for 3PM on Friday March 5th

This is not a bus trip, nor is there a "check-in" at the mountain, this is simply: sign up through this link and the cost of a ticket will be reduced by $15/ticket. 

View the flyer for further details.

A&R Scholarship Application:  A&R will be awarding 16 scholarships again this year.  If you have a high school senior or a post-secondary student and are interested in submitting an application, follow the link below for the application and the guidelines.  The deadline for submittal is April 8th and winners will be selected just prior to the A&R Annual Convention which is on April 22nd.

Scholarship Application (MSWord version)

Scholarship Application (PDF version)

AFT and AFTCT Scholarship Information

Legislative Session:  the 2021 Legislative session has begun, we are monitoring the proposed bills and have already spoken against the DMV proposal to privitize its own agency SB261 (yes, the agency claims it was unintended but the language of the bill allowed for unfettered privitization; to be fair to DMV, the agency is willing to fix the language so we will see how they intend to do that and whether they intend to do that with involvment from labor).  Thus far, there are only a couple of bills remaining that A&R objects to and will be speaking against, however, we are thankful that it is only a couple of bills this year (we can't forget 2017 when we objected to 92 bill proposals).  If you see a bill that has "bad" language for A&R, please let us know.




Vaccination Plans: It is expected that today (Friday 1/15/21), Governor Lamont will release the next phase of the statewide vaccination plan.  We have been advocating to vaccinate state employees as soon as possible since we are highly interactive with the public, but we won't know what the final determination is until later today (at best). 

Phase 1a included first responders, direct patient care employees, and long-term care residents/employees.  The 1a vaccinations are still taking place and phase 1b has also started, including individuals over age 75.  Click to see who is included in phase 1b.  If there is an announcement relating to a widespread vaccination of state employees, we will let you know.

Fleet Vehicles: The State has purchased and is installing GEOTAB tracking devices for all state fleet vehicles.  Be aware that these tracking devices report out far more than a GPS location.  These trackers are plugged into the car's on-board diagnostic system and will also be able to report driver behaviors such as vehicle speed, acceleration, hard braking, idling time, etc.  and all of this can be compiled into a driver score...basically it has the capability of becoming an electronic version of someone sitting next to you and rating you as you drive (kinda like your spouse).

Inauguration Day: there has been quite a number of inquiries regarding the reported threats to state buildings during the Presidential inauguration.  As such, state agencies are increasing security around buildings and many agencies are imposing "work-from-home" directives.  There is no statewide rule on this, but work-from-home seems to be the optimal way of addressing the security issue.  If you have not been told to work from home on 1/20/21 (if possible), feel free to ask your management staff if you can work from home that day.

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!



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

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).