Thursday, August 19, 2021
On August 19th, the Administration of Governor Ned Lamont announced Executive Order No.13D (EO-13D) concerning mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of state employees who do not qualify for medical or religious exemptions. Under the EO, which would take effect beginning on September 27, 2021, some state employees who have not received at least their first dose of the vaccine, and do not qualify for a religious or medical exemption, will be able to continue to work in a state owned or operated property only by undergoing a COVID-19 test one time per week.
This test option will not be available to state hospital employees unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption. The only state employees not covered at all by this EO are professional employees at the state colleges and universities that negotiate directly with their employers on these issues.
Courts have upheld employer rights to mandate vaccination. The state of Connecticut is required to negotiate with their employees’ unions over the details and impacts of the EO and the Lamont Administration has acknowledged its obligation to do so. Our demand to bargain is effective immediately, SEBAC and the constituent unions will continue to update members as more information becomes available.
SEBAC is a strong advocate of doing all we can to protect the safety of members and the public in these unprecedented times. We recognize that under state and federal law, the employer has the right to create such mandates, subject to the duty to bargain its impact on employees, and we will continue to fight for safety in the workplace and the rights of each and every individual employee.
Executive and Judicial Branch State Employees Not Working in a State Hospital:
For state employees in the executive and judicial branch that are not working in a state hospital or longer-term care facilities* members will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or opt out and submit to weekly testing. All of the details of the testing process must be bargained.
This mandate will begin starting September 27th. Under the mandate, if by then you are not either fully vaccinated, or had a first shot and an appointment for a second shot if one is necessary, then you will be subject to weekly testing. That testing would be required whether you are exempt from the mandate for religious or medical reasons, or simply are unwilling to get vaccinated.
Executive Branch State Employees Working in a State Hospital:
For state employees under the Executive Branch that work in State Hospitals and longer-term care facilities*, no member will be offered an option to opt out of the vaccine mandate and must submit to weekly testing, except for those with religious or health exemptions, which includes members that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Members who fall under this exemption category will follow the same testing guidelines as outlined above.
The Executive Order’s text can be found here. Collective bargaining will continue and more details will continue to be posted here on the website.
*State Hospital State Workers are defined as those working at Albert J. Solnit Center South, Whiting Forensic Hospital, John Dempsey Hospital, Connecticut Valley Hospital, the Rocky Hill Veterans Home, Southbury Training School, Lower Fairfield and Northwest Hartford Regional Centers, and all state employees who regularly visit these public facilities).