Wednesday, September 1, 2021
On August 19th, the Lamont Administration announced Executive Order No. 13D (EO-13D) concerning mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of state employees who do not qualify for medical or religious exemptions. For employees not working in state hospitals or long-term care facilities, that mandate includes the ability to refuse the vaccine as long as the employee submits to weekly COVID testing. You can review our initial statement that outlines EO-13D in detail HERE, the text to the EO can also be found HERE.
While the courts have upheld the employer’s right to mandate vaccinations — especially since at least one of the vaccines has now been fully approved by the FDA — it is equally clear that the Lamont Administration has a duty and obligation to negotiate over the details and impacts of EO-13D. The first session of this bargaining has been scheduled for Thursday, September 9th. The bargaining on the September 9th, and any follow up sessions, will deal only with the impacts of EO-13D, and not with other issues concerning the Coalition or any of the individual unions.
SEBAC and its constituent unions are and have always been strong advocates for workplace and public safety. We are equally committed to fighting for the rights of each and every individual employee and doing whatever we can to ensure the balance between these two commitments is fair to everyone. `
To that end, the local unions that comprise SEBAC will work collaboratively to ensure that the concerns members have brought to the attention of staff and leaders are addressed during this negotiation session. These include many issues, like maximizing onsite and easy access to testing, preventing unfair disciplinary treatment of those who may disagree with EO-13D, and always making sure that working spaces and public areas are maximized to protect the health and safety of employees and the public.
Once the negotiation sessions conclude, we will send out a final update that outlines the specific details that were addressed. We are hopeful that agreements can be reached by the September 27th effective date of the EO but the Coalition and constituent unions reserve the right to arbitrate differences over the impact of EO-13D if they cannot be resolved through bargaining.