CT Vaccine Mandate Update #2 Oct 22, 2021

Brothers and Sisters of ATU 1576,

As promised in our last letter, we are keeping our members updated on the progress of our impact bargaining over CT’s new policy on employee vaccination. Here are the most recent updates:

  • October 14, 2021: President Kathleen Custer and Vice President Dani Julien met with CT CEO Ric Ilgenfritz to discuss the vaccine policy.  We talked through the union's position to grant a weekly testing accommodation for those with an approved exemption request.  President Custer specifically asked Mr. Ilgenfritz for a commitment to allow this accommodation for the group of employees who will request an exemption based on a protected status, either religious or medical.
  • October 20, 2021:  We met again for a follow up, with CT CEO Ric Ilgenfritz and Human Resources Manager Cesar Portillo.  We were informed by Mr. Ilgenfritz that CT would not be granting as an accommodation weekly testing for any employees, even those of our members who have been working from home.
  • October 21, 2021: CT began processing the exemption requests turned in so far.  Their decision not to offer a testing accommodation had already been made.
  • October 26, 2021: Our next impact bargaining session with CT.

At the October 20th meeting, we asked if this decision was made at the direction of the CT Board of Directors.  Mr. Ilgenfritz stated that the Board has been informed of the direction the agency is going with the policy from the beginning, but that the Board had not specifically directed CT to refuse to grant testing as an accommodation. We understand that even members who have worked from home, will not be accommodated with additional weekly testing. 

We are strongly encouraging members to reach out directly to the CEO and the Board of Directors about the decision not to accommodate with testing.

Our focus going forward continues to be on bargaining to get the best protections possible in place for the employees who are going to be impacted by the policy.  These will include some type of recall rights for anyone who is ultimately separated.  Details of the items we are asking for in impact bargaining were shared at length during our Union meetings this last week. To avoid confusion about our proposals versus agreements that we will reach with CT, and because it will be a lengthy communication, those details will be coming out in a separate letter.

Finally, thank you for continuing to do what you do for our community, with such total professionalism, throughout this extremely stressful time. 

In Solidarity, and on behalf of your leadership team, 

Kathleen Custer, President/Business Agent

Danielle Julien, Vice President, Assistant Business Agent

Dave Thompson, Financial Secretary-Treasure

Lela Perkins, Recording Secretary, Website/Social Media Outreach