An arbitrator has ruled that the state can mandate the COVID vaccine for Illinois prison guards and staffers at state juvenile detention facilities.
The decision ensures employees in State Correctional Facilities and Juvenile Justice Centers must get their first shot by January 31st unless they are approved for a religious or medical exemption.
Governor JB Pritzker had ordered the vaccine mandate in the fall for workers in those congregate care settings, but AFSCME fought the mandate, sending the dispute to arbitration. Pritzker says the ruling will protect inmates and state workers amid a surge in Covid cases: “The recent surge of cases brought on by the Omicron variant has brought a serious threat to our state, and I’m glad that this ruling will protect nearly 10,000 state workers and all of the people at these facilities. Protecting the health and safety of workers and residents across the state remains a top priority for my administration and I look forward to continued discussions with our labor partners as we move forward with the task of keeping our employees and residents of our congregate facilities safe.”
The ruling impacts nearly 10,000 state workers.