COVID outbreaks at the DOC have been severe at some facilities. Members are working round-the-clock to keep staff and incarcerated individuals healthy and safe.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been in constant negotiations with the DOC to advocate for your health and safety in the workplace.

These negotiations have grown increasingly urgent as the virus has spread at DOC facilities and more members and incarcerated individuals have become infected.

Our priorities in COVID-related negotiations with the Department have always been first and foremost to protect your health, safety, and security. At the same time, we have worked vigorously to ensure that you have access to appropriate leave and that you are properly compensated for your work.

We're happy to report that in our most recent negotiations with the Department we achieved a Memorandum of Understanding providing that employees in overtime-exempt positions who have accrued the maximum exchange time may be eligible to receive pay at the straight time rate for hours worked in excess of 45 hours in a workweek.

We have made a number of other demands that the DOC has not yet honored. These include:

  • extending your access to paid leave now that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave has expired;
  • allowing you to access paid administrative leave if you receive the COVID vaccination and suffer side effects that prevent you from reporting to work;
  • allowing you to present a negative rapid COVID test result from a private provider in order to return to work after being mapped out; and  
  • expanding and improving telework options.

This has been an extraordinarily stressful time for you, your co-workers, and all DOC families. Your heroism and essential service to the public during this crisis represent the very best in all of us. The devastation of this pandemic is immense, and we share in mourning the loss of your co-workers, their family members, and all those who have succumbed to this virus.

Thank you for keeping us safe, protecting our communities, and navigating this crisis with such dedication, courage, and care.