Illinois reaches vaccine agreements with Nurses Assoc. and Fed. of Public Employees

(WSIL) — Governor JB Pritzker announced two new agreements with the Illinois Nurses Association and Illinois Federation of Public Employees that will ensure nearly 1,300 more state employees are protected with the COVID-19 vaccines.

The agreement with the Illinois Nurses Association covers about 1,100 nurses working in 24/7 facilities like McFarland Mental Health Facility, Quincy Veterans’ Home and Jacksonville Correctional Center. 

The agreement with the Illinois Federation of Public Employees covers about 160 employees working in Human Services and Veterans’ Affairs.

Employees must receive their first shot by October 14. Should an employee elect a two-dose vaccine, they must receive the second shot by November 18.

If employees do not receive the vaccine or an exemption by the dates identified, progressive disciplinary measures will be implemented, which may ultimately lead to discharge. The agreement includes a process whereby employees can seek an exemption based on medical contraindications or sincerely-held religious beliefs. 

“Vaccinations are helping to keep our schools and businesses open, protecting our children, our workers and our customers from getting sick with this deadly virus,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We’ve now reached three agreements to ensure the workers at our congregate facilities will be taking the most powerful action they can by getting vaccinated to keep themselves and the residents they serve safe. I’m proud to reach these agreements and applaud the Illinois Nurses Association and Illinois Federation of Public Employees for working to keep our state safe. Millions more residents are being called to do their part, and I thank President Biden for his leadership in rallying employers to keep people healthy.”

To further encourage vaccinations under the agreement with the unions, employees will receive an additional personal day. If the vaccine administration is not available during an employee’s regularly scheduled shift, the employee may be compensated at their regular pay for the time taken to receive the vaccine.

In addition, vaccinated employees will receive paid “COVID time,” so that if a vaccinated employee gets COVID-19, or must quarantine due to COVID-19, they will receive a period of paid time off without using their benefit time.

Illinois reached its first union agreement with VR-704 on September 20, 2021, covering 260 supervisory employees at the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

“We are pleased that we were able to collaborate with CMS to reach this agreement. Our union always strives to ensure that members’ rights and safety are protected, and their voices are heard,” said Matt Emigholz, President of the Illinois Federation of Public Employees, Local 4408. “We believe that this agreement provides options for employees while offering them a way to do what they are committed to — providing excellent service to the citizens of Illinois.”

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October 7, 2021 at 07:19PM

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