Employees Protest Vaccine Requirement at Western Illinois Correctional

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 23, 2021 at 3:54pm

Approximately 40 people gathered on Route 99 in Brown County yesterday in protest of COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

The group made up of correctional officers, state employees, and members of the community, gathered outside of the Western Illinois Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling to protest vaccine requirements for state workers according to a report by KHQA.

Governor J.B. Pritzker issued the order on August 4th, mandating that all state employees who work in congregate settings be vaccinated. After pushback from AFSCME and ongoing negotiations with unions representing state employees in congregate facilities, Pritzker pushed the deadline to November 18th this past Monday.

Protesters outside the prison told KHQA they believe they should get to choose whether or not they get the vaccine. Retired correctional officer John Miller said that correctional officers and state workers alike who do not follow the mandate could be subject to disciplinary action or even termination.

Miller says if that happens it could mean a huge impact on correctional facilities in Illinois if they become short staffed.