Update on Vaccine Mandate Bargaining
The NAGE team met with representatives of the Baker Administration again today to continue negotiations over the decision to mandate vaccinations and the impacts of that decision on terms and conditions of employment.
The only significant progress we can report is that the administration has agreed in principle to waive the steps of the grievance process so that we will be able to proceed directly to arbitration to challenge disciplinary actions that may be taken against our members for not complying with the vaccination mandate. The normal process typically takes 18 months or more and we hope that this agreement will shorten that time considerably. We also were able to obtain a commitment that employees who filed timely exemption requests and who did not receive a denial of their request until after October 17 will be allowed three calendar days after the denial to produce evidence of vaccination.
On the main question of whether the employer will continue to suspend and terminate non-compliant employees, the administration is adamant that they will.
On a more positive note, the number of unvaccinated members continues to drop significantly. While we will continue to vigorously represent those employees who, for a variety of reasons have not been vaccinated, we are realistic enough to see the trend nationally that has almost uniformly upheld employers who enforce a mandate.
In view of the fact that the administration has unilaterally implemented this program of mandatory discipline without having reached agreement or impasse with NAGE, we will be filing a Charge of Prohibited Practice at the Department of Labor Relations (DLR) this week. This is the same forum and legal theory that led to our victory in the PFMLA case.
We will keep you advised.
Our previous posts can be found here:
Oct 14 - Vaccine Mandate Bargaining Update with HRD Notice
Oct 7 - Update on Baker's Vaccine Mandate
Sept 30- Further Vaccine Mandate Update with Exemption Guidance
Sept 28- Vaccine Mandate Update with Exemption Guidance