Recently Accreted Titles

Over the past several months several job Classifications in the "managerial" (MP) pay plans have gone through the lengthy process of joining our union.  If you are in one of these titles, you know the effort and time it took to accomplish that task.  Endless hearings at the State Board of Labor Relations, a determination that your job titles were eligible to be in A&R, then unionization votes - in each case unanimously in favor of joining A&R.

Sundry Items - 7/15/2020

Paychecks:

  • Congratulations everyone, we made an agreement with the State in 2017 which "backloaded" our current contract with consecutive 3.5% General Wage Increases and I am happy to report that we have now received both of those 3.5% GWIs.  The most recent GWI was effective on 6/19/2020 and will appear in your 7/16/2020 paycheck.  Step Increases and TopStepPayments will be made in January 2021.
  • Also, many people will start to see the end of their 3% contribution to the Retiree Healthcare Trust Fund (also referred to as OPEB or RHTF).  Those who were hired between 7/1/2005 and 7/1/2009 began making contributions on 7/1/2010 (roughly, not exactly on that date).  This means the 10 years of contributions has expired (roughly) and the 3% payments will cease in this timeframe.  Those hired prior to 7/1/2005 did not start making payments until 7/1/2013 (roughly), so there are still 3 years (roughly) of payments remaining for this cohort.

HEP Compliance Requirements:

  • HEP compliance requirements for 2020 have been suspended but not necessarily indefinitely. 
  • Compliance requirements may be modified in the future
  • We will provide updates as they develop

Health Insurance Changes:

  • The Healthcare Open Enrollment period has been delayed to September, 2020 and the transition of all employees to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is delayed to October 1, 2020
  • The delayed transition means that all employees, retirees and dependents will remain in the plan and with the carrier that they currently have -  with no changes - until October 1, 2020.  There will also be no change to medical/prescription or dental rates until that time.  Any open enrollment events previously scheduled for in person or online will be rescheduled.
  • Increased annual costs to the plans (if any - plan costs fluctuate year-to-year) will be borne over 9 months (rather than 12) starting October 1st.
  • The transition from UnitedHealthcare to Anthem BC/BS will include a new, "less expensive" plan to choose from as well.  More details on the new plan are forthcoming.

Accretions

  • For those titles accreted into A&R after May, 2019 (DOI, DOB, DOL, DOT) we are continuing the negotiations process. Clearly the COVID crisis halted normal routines, but we are now back to negotiating with the State.

Kronos:

  • Although we are still pushing against Kronos, DCF has decided to forge forward with this expensive (and silly and unnecessary) time-tracking system   Right now, only 4 agencies (DCF, DESPP, DVA, DOC) are planning to deploy this system.  DCF will launch on 7/17 while the other 3 agencies will deploy in October/November.  We are still working to limit the impact of Kronos to the membership and the SEBAC unions have sent a Cease and Desist demand to the State.  We will keep everyone informed of developments.

Mandatory COVID 19 Testing:

In the interests of safety, the state is implementing a limited mandatory COVID-19 testing program.  The initial focus is on agencies with direct care/custody responsibilities.  In a nutshell, testing can be required.  If an employee tests positive, they shall be placed on mandatory paid leave for 14 days.  An employee refusing testing shall be immediately placed on unpaid leave.
Click this link to see the two page detailed workplace agreement.

Joint Labor Management Principles Regarding COVID-19 Return to the Workplace

Agencies are slowly starting to bring employees back into the offices.  We recognize that the mission of our employer, to serve the needs of the citizens of Connecticut, must go on.  As employees, we insist that the employer provides us with a safe work environment.  Via SEBAC, the state worked with labor to develop principles regarding COVID-19 and returning to the workplace.  Foremost is the principle of Safety First.  It is the first principle listed.  The second principle listed is Telecommuting First (there are 18 items listed).  Agency staffing needs should preferably be met through volunteerism.  If staffing needs cannot be met by volunteerism, seniority shall be a controlling factor, should that become necessary.   The document also addresses social distancing guidelines, personal protective equipment, office suitability, and a variety of other topics related to workplace safety.  Remember this: Safety Firs!.  Telework First!
Click this link to see the two page Labor/Management Principles Regarding COVID-19 Return to the Workplace.   

 

 

 

 

 

Rep Fishbein, Do The Right Thing, Step Down

Legislator Craig Fishbein, who represents Wallingford/Cheshire sent out a retweet this weekend that read:

"if you aren't setting fire to buildings...THEN YOU AIN"T BLACK". 

He has apologized for the insensitivity of the tweet, however, we are already familiar with Rep Fishbein.   His choice of which tweets he deems relevant doesn't surprise us.   We have trouble respecting any politician with such recurring failures of maturity and judgment.   In addition to having a fondness for bigoted tweets, he is also anti-union as he has filed multiple suits against unions in this state.   We knew his thoughts on unions, now we know his thoughts on race.  We don't know what else he is "anti-", but we do know that this guy should not be accepted by his colleagues in the Capitol.  To allow him to continue to be involved in crafting legislation on issues of justice and equality is an insult to the public and a disservice to the residents of Wallingford/Cheshire. 

Representative Fishbein should step down; he clearly doesn't represent, respect, or understand a large population of people in his district and has brought shame to the position he holds. 

There is a petition asking for his removal if you wish to send a message to Rep Fishbein.

Representative Fishbein, here is your class on sensitivity training and we can only hope you understand this (everyone should watch this tho...it is fantastic)...https://youtu.be/mXLS2IzZSdg

Updated COVID-19 Guidance

Admittedly, it is getting a bit confusing, but a new guidance is out...this guidance updates a few items related to leave time.  The gist is this:  if you have NOT taken the full 80hrs of LOPD (COVID related time), you can now access any of the time not taken for any of the acceptable reasons to utilize LOPD.  Further, you can access that time intermittently...this is a change b/c it was originally presented as a 14 day clock from the first day you accessed the time even if you didn't use it for 14 consecutive days; now it is an 80hr time "bank" that doesn't need to be taken in full

Meeting with the Governor

Quick update on the meeting with the Governor's staff.  It was as expected; the meeting was related to a request for contract adjustments to our July GWI.  The request however, went well beyond just a brief delay in the GWI...so it was a dud.  No further meetings scheduled, no counter-offer was made.  We will see if there is more, but right now, after 1 wage increase over 4 years in exchange for a $24billion savings deal for the State, this offer wasn't anything A&R was willing to entertain. 

Governor Wishes To Speak

It is expected that the Governor will announce that he wants to speak to the State Employee Unions.  The Governor's office has reached out to union leadership and requested a meeting within the next few days to discuss the fiscal impact of COVID-19.