Without any notice, the Coalition of Court Unions and their members have yet again received an outline of a new policy.  This time in regard to mandated vaccination.

Although all the Unions were expecting this based on Judge DiFiore’s address on Monday, we were not included or given an opportunity to engage in impact bargaining or even given notice of the directive outlined in her address on Monday. It is clear Chief Judge DiFiore does not have respect for the Unions or the Members it represents.  Those that keep this agency operating. It is downright disgraceful. I pride myself in the work every one of you does day in and day out. Our Chief Judge obviously does not have that same pride as she dictates policy without the input form the people who do the job every day.

On Tuesday August 24th, the Unions that represent court employees met virtually with OCA Employee Relations regarding concerns with the mandatory testing policy as well as the remarks from Judge DiFiore about mandated vaccinations. As you can imagine many questions were asked, such as but not limited to: Will employees get excused leave if they become ill after getting an injection? Will individuals that had Covid-19 be able to submit to an antibody test, demonstrating the level of antibodies in their blood in lieu of having to receive the vaccination? How will OCA handle the shortages in staffing that currently exist and that will increase due to these policies? The liaison from OCA did not have the answers to these questions, but she said that she would try to obtain answers.

Yesterday Judge Marks issued the framework of a policy of mandated COVID-19 vaccinations. I know there is debate and division not only among our members but the public at large. CSEA is committed to representing all its dues paying members regardless of their beliefs. We believe OCA’s unwillingness to negotiate this new mandate is a violation of law. Based upon this, we along with the other unions are looking into all legal means to stop this mandate until OCA includes us in the discussion. There is a significant impact to our membership based on this mandate. From cost of testing to medical issues associated with testing and vaccination, as well as infringement of religious beliefs.

Some of our members who are vaccinated may look at this as a waste of time to protect a small number of individuals. About half CSEA’s membership has decided whether for medical, religious, or just personal beliefs not to receive this vaccine. There are also several individuals who would like to be vaccinated but cannot based on the reasons mentioned above. CSEA prides itself as an all-inclusive membership, we are one Union and harm to one is harm to all.

We are awaiting for the actual policy to be distributed. I’m sure it will be released to you at the same time we receive it. Based on Judge Mark’s memo yesterday we should be seeing it in the upcoming days.

I will schedule a Teams meeting for this coming Wednesday September 1st. I will forward the link to the meeting by Friday as long as there are no other major changes in this upcoming policy.