Last week, the State sent out a Memorandum requiring medical-grade N95 respirator masks to be worn by all job classifications at the Department of Corrections when interacting with incarcerated individuals who test positive, are on quarantine status, or are in medical isolation for COVID-19.

We want you to know the policy was not bargained with your Union. Instead, the DOC implemented this policy without consulting us or even providing us adequate notice of their decision.

Your safety at work is always our utmost priority. However, in this case, we believe that a change to working conditions as significant as an N95 mask mandate for all DOC staff is a mandatory subject of bargaining and should not have been unilaterally implemented. We do not believe DOC has considered all the impacts of this new policy or has any idea how they will make it work in practice. DOC needs to slow down and take the time to bargain with your Union.

Because the DOC implemented this process without bargaining, we have filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC). In filing this charge, we are not objecting to the use of N95 masks in circumstances where it makes sense to do so, but to the unilateral implementation of the mandate without consulting with your Union and bargaining over a change in working conditions. You can read the Unfair Labor Practice charge that we are filing here.