Still Sane?

Many have been home for a few weeks and every day has become what we now refer to as 'blursday'...in an effort to get everyone up to speed, A&R has decided to give you today's Public Service Announcement:

Today is Thursday April 9, 2020
It is the 100th day of the year.
There are 266 days left in 2020.
It is the 15th Thursday of the year.
It is the 22nd day of spring.
There are 165 days left until Summer ends.
It is Passover.
It is also Holy Thursday so the Catholic Church wants you to wash your feet today as well as your hands.
It is also National Unicorn Day (whatever that means).

That is today's Public Service Announcement...hang in there everyone....

Quick Items

COVID TELECOMMUTING
After the initial workplace disruption and ensuing chaos caused by covid19, things are finally settling down at most agencies.  Many employees have adjusted to a work-at-home situation for most days of the week, settling in to a productive routine and, in coordination with their managers and colleagues, getting the work of the state done.  We are still working to resolve some issues.  For example, many employees were initially categorized as "Intermittent", meaning that they had to report to the office to perform some "critical" function from within the agency building.  If you have been so designated, yet you have been able to perform the "critical" function remotely (or if the critical function is accomplished in some other fashion and your physical presence at the office is no longer required) then by all means please communicate directly with your management team and the reduced need for you to physically report to the agency.  Do this with your safety in mind, as well as the safety of your colleagues.  We are approaching the critical point in turning around this pandemic and continued social isolation is the key to stemming the increase of infection.  With the goal of defeating the virus, let's ensure we minimize social contact for just a bit longer.  If you do not need to physically report to the office, yet still are doing so needlessly, discuss this with your management team.

HEP – OPEN ENROLLMENT DELAYED
The Comptroller's Office announced that the Health Insurance Open Enrollment will be delayed until September 2020 and that the transition from UnitedHealthcare to Anthem will not begin until October 2020.

MEMBER CONTACT INFORMATION
The union has been reaching out to members via email during this crisis.  If you did not receive yesterday's email from A&R then please provide us with your email address and update your membership information by completing the online membership card

ANNUAL CONVENTION
The A&R Annual Convention has not been postponed.  It remains as scheduled: Thursday, April 16th at 6:00 pm, however it will be held at the union office and not at the Chowder Pot.  Our intent is to hold the convention in our parking lot where social distancing can be maintained.  Registration begins at 4:30.  All attendees must register by 6:00pm to participate in the Convention.  This will be a business only meeting with only 2 items on the agenda; as we anticipate a brief meeting, no meal will be provided.

Catch-up Items

COVID19:  While we have been chasing this non-stop for 2 weeks, we just want to let you know where we are now.   Most agencies have this in hand but we still have a few issues scattered about that we are trying to address.  Specifically, DMV is a debacle, DSS is quite chaotic but shaping up but we thank the commissioner for taking some actions to improve the situation, and the DCF Commissioner has done great and worked well with us for which we are grateful, but we still have some problems with the regular suspect over there (David Barry).

We are continuing to monitor all that is happening and we are pushing the message that all agencies should shut down a building if more than one case of COVID19 is confirmed.

We are getting questions regarding the conclusion of the 14 days of LOPD, we are not sure what will come next but we will let everyone know as the situation evolves.

EFMLEA/EPSLA:  USDOL has released guidance for emergency FMLA and Emergency Paid Paid Leave.   These documents are very similar to what the Governor had directed with LOPD, however, these begin on April 1, 2020.  It is uncertain whether these guidelines will be utilized when the LOPD time has expired or whether the Governor will extend the 14 day LOPD timeframes.  Please review the EFMLEA/EPLA guidance if you need to access paid leave resulting from the coronavirus.

Workers Comp:  Also, we are being advised that if you contract the coronavirus and you believe you may have contracted it at work, to file a WC-30 immediately and state that you believe that you contracted it at work.  We do cannot predict how these will be adjudicated, however, we also don't know if there are any long-term effects from this virus.  This is a pre-cautionary measure to be taken within 30 days to protect your rights.  Workers Comp 30C Form

Scholarships:  Remember that the A&R Scholarship applications need to be received at the A&R office no later than 4:30pm on April 2.

A&R Convention and Elections:  Reminder to be on the lookout for your A&R election ballot in your mailbox.  Voting is open through 11:59 pm on 4/15/2020.  We are still holding our convention on 4/16/2020, however, due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are forced to change our venue.  For now, we plan to hold the convention at the A&R Office, if necessary, we could hold it in the parking lot as a pre-caution for social-distancing.  We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust plans as needed.

DMV Wethersfield Closed Thru Tuesday

Finally, some sensible action as the Governor had to step in and close the DMV-Wethersfield Office for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.   There will be no employees allowed in the building while the state tries to clean and contain the virus which was clearly being passed through that building.  Thank you Governor Lamont for hearing us on this and taking action to overrule the Commissioner and shut that building down!!!

...now DSS

We have 2 agencies that remain questionable as to their COVID19 response: one is DSS and the other is DMV...DMV is a complete debacle, as if no one is at the helm, while the DSS response has seemed chaotic and scattered, but at least manageable.  DMV has at least communicated with us, the only agency that has not communicated with us throughout this process has been DSS.  We now have a confirmed COVID19 case in the DSS central office building.  A&R has already responded by requesting of Commissioner Gifford and HR Director Davis that the central office agency should be shutdown through at least the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), as per CDC guidelines, as the coronavirus should not survive 3 days in the environment.  We will continue this push for the health of the people in that building.  In the meantime, anyone who beleives they have been in contact should inquire to HR about an immediate 14 day quarantine, or get a note from their doctor directing them to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days.  These situations should qualify you for the LOPD coding....remember, even if you are quarantined, you should continue to telecommute if possible.

As the situation evolves we will update the membership via the website.

Our number one priority is workplace safety.

The Debacle at DMV

The DMV Wethersfield Office has at least 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 yet Commissioner Magubane has ordered all 400 employees at that building to continue to report to work as normal, designating all 400 as “Level 1 – essential”.  To be clear, workers are being told to report to work as usual to a building with a confirmed outbreak of coronavirus, despite the Governor’s Executive Orders for all citizens to “Stay safe, Stay home”.  Gubernatorial edicts to enact widespread telecommuting have been ignored at the DMV.  Commissioner Magubane, herself under quarantine due to exposure to the virus from a fellow DMV executive, sits far away self-monitoring.  She is safely away from the worksite – a worksite that clearly is a coronavirus “hot-zone”.  Yet Commissioner Magubane has directed all 400 employees to continue to report to a facility with multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19.   Her directive risks exposure for 400 employees, their families and everyone with whom they interact

This is beyond reckless and dangerous.  With the apparent exception of Commissioner Magubane, we all know the seriousness of this disease.  Magubane’s callous disregard for the wellbeing of her staff is reprehensible.  The interests of the agency are poorly served if the entire staff succumbs to coronavirus at once, a very possible outcome if employees are foolishly required to be in close quarters with one another, in direct violation of protocols mandated by the CDC, the Governor, and virtually every other authority on the subject.  These protocols have been properly implemented at nearly all agencies, with the glaring exception of DMV.   Commissioner Magubane has consistently shown a lack of initiative and understanding about her agency throughout her short tenure at DMV.  Her inability to grasp the concepts of public health and administer her agency accordingly, despite twelve consecutive days of Executive Orders from the Governor is just inexplicable. 

Commissioner Magubane needs to be removed from office immediately before the agency becomes defunct.  

We need employees to be safe.  Safety is the union’s number one priority.  The sheer volume of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the DMV Wethersfield building establishes it as a hot-zone.  We do not consider having employees in close proximity to each other in an infectious disease hot-zone to be safe.  Based on the Governor’s Executive Orders to stay safe, stay home, we are advising employees that if you believe you have been exposed to an employee with COVID-19 at the DMV-Wethersfield Office, then you should immediately go home and self-monitor for 14 days utilizing the LOPD code on your timesheet.  If telework is possible, then please telework.