Pritzker reaches fourth union agreement for state employees to get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine(WGEM)
Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Another group of state employees reached an agreement with the Pritzker administration over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This is the fourth agreement with trade unions in recent weeks.

The vaccine mandate for state employees in congregate settings now applies to about 2,000 workers.

Gov. JB Pritzker says workers at the Shapiro Developmental Center, Menard Correctional Center, and Quincy Veterans’ Home must now follow the vaccine requirement. Employees now have until October 26 to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Leadership by President Biden and businesses across the country show that vaccine requirements work,” Pritzker said.  “I’m proud to announce that Illinois has reached our fourth union agreement to ensure those we serve are protected. Vaccination remains our strongest tool to stay safe from COVID-19 and protect our children.”

Anyone refusing the vaccination could face discipline, including possible termination. However, workers can seek exemptions if they have certain medical conditions or religious beliefs.

New incentives for union members getting the vaccine

Under this agreement, employees receive an additional personal day. Those workers can also get compensated if the vaccine isn’t available during their normal shift.

Meanwhile, the administration says negotiations are ongoing with AFSCME leadership. That union represents nearly all of the state employees in congregate facilities.

260 supervisors for the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice reached an agreement with the administration in September. The Illinois Nurses Association later reached an agreement for roughly 1,100 members working in 24/7 facilities on October 7. Those INA members work at the McFarland Mental Health Facility, Quincy Veterans’ Home, and Jacksonville Correctional Center.

The Illinois Federation of Public Employees also reached an agreement for 160 members working in Human Services and Veterans’ Affairs. That took effect on October 7.

470 employees from the Shapiro Developmental Center, Menard Correctional Center, and Quincy Veterans’ Home were the latest union members to reach an agreement.

The Pritzker administration says vaccinated workers can also receive paid “COVID time” under this agreement. That would only go into effect if vaccinated employees contract COVID-19 and need time off work. Those workers can use the paid time off without using any of their benefits.

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