Pritzker strikes 1st deal with a state workers union over vaccine mandate

The deal covers about 260 workers, a fraction of employees who work in residential settings such as state prisons or veterans’ homes.

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The Corrections Department website

A deal between the Pritzker administration and a union that represents 260 supervisors at the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice clears the way a vaccine mandate to go into effect.

IDOC website

Illinois has struck its first deal with a state workers union to go along with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s vaccine mandate for employees who work in state-run residential facilities.

The deal is small in scale. It ensures vaccines will go in the arms of only 260 workers who hold supervisory roles in the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The workers are represented by Laborers International Union of North America-Illinois State Employees Association, Local 2002.

The deal could be used as a blueprint in negotiations with other unions who representthousands of additional workers at the two stateagencies, as well as the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Negotiations between the unions representing the rest of the workforce impacted by this mandate are ongoing,” according to an announcement from Pritzker’s office.

Under the deal, which was announced Monday, vaccinated employees will be granted “COVID time,” so that if a vaccinated employee gets COVID-19 or must quarantine, they will receive a period of paid time off without using their benefit time. Each employee will also receive an additional personal day. And if the vaccine is not available during an employee’s regularly scheduled shift, he or she may be compensated at their regular pay for time taken to receive the vaccine.

Employees must receive their first shot by Oct. 14, 2021. And should an employee elect a two-dose vaccine, they must receive the second shot by Nov. 18.

Employees who do not receive the vaccine or an exemption for medical or religious reasons will be subject to progressive disciplinary measures that could result in beingfired.

Pritzker announced the vaccination mandate last month and set an Oct. 4 deadline with the understanding that details would be hashed out with variousunions.

Last week, facing union pushback, Pritzker extended the deadline for workers to be fully vaccinated to Nov. 18.

“Vaccination is the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to normal life,” Pritzker’s office said.

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