Two State Unions Reach Agreement Over COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

By Benjamin Cox on October 8, 2021 at 2:31pm

The State of Illinois has reached agreement with two more state employee unions requiring COVID-19 vaccines for certain state workers.

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Office announced yesterday that the Illinois Nurses Association and Illinois Federation of Public Employees that will ensure that their nearly 1,300 state employee membership are required to be vaccinated.

The Illinois Nurses Association covers approximately 1,000 employees in many of the state’s long-term care facilities for the Department of Human Services, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and nurses who work in the Illinois Department of Corrections. 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 14th. Should an employee elect a two-dose vaccine, they must receive the second shot by November 18th.

According to the agreement if employees don’t meet the dates, 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.

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 20th covering 260 supervisory employees at the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.