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AFSCME backs Pritzker’s work from home directive

Sunday, Mar 15, 2020

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* From Gov. Pritzker…


Gov. Pritzker also announced that he has directed state agencies to implement plans for a temporary reduction of government functions and workforce while maintaining core functions and essential operations.

Select employees will continue to report to work; while the remaining workforce will either work remotely or be asked to remain home on call while receiving pay. All state employees will continue to be paid during this period.

Over the next several days, the Pritzker administration will finalize these plans and update state employees and the public. The Office of the Governor will remain fully operational throughout this period.

“Several days.” Hmm.

* Response…

Statement of AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch:

“State employees provide public services that are vitally important to the well-being of every Illinois resident. They protect kids, safeguard public health, help struggling families, keep prisons safe, care for veterans and people with disabilities and much more.

“Governor Pritzker is right to direct state employees wherever possible to work remotely during this outbreak. Preventing community transmission of the coronavirus is necessary to keep people healthy and prevent a surge of infections that overwhelms the health care system. The governor is modeling the behavior that every Illinois employer should follow.

“Our union’s top priority will remain protecting the safety of those state employees who continue to work on the front lines of public service in the days to come, in prisons, veterans homes, disability centers, critical human services and more. It’s vitally important that they have adequate personal protective equipment, sanitary working conditions and the other support and tools they need to do their jobs and stay healthy.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that core services are maintained while all possible measures are taken to halt the spread of this virus and protect the health of employees and those they serve.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 8:14 am:

    - dcp -

    Go back to sleep, start the day over.

  2. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 8:21 am:

    This is unprecedented and a real test for us on many levels. The plan has to come quickly. Meanwhile state residents need to be served. Many rely on social services, and we have to minimize or prevent disruptions that could harm the most vulnerable. It’s the same for other state services.

  3. - Fixer - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 8:32 am:

    DHS is slowing central staff to work remotely but doing nothing at this time to curb any potential spread through local offices by allowing them to keep lobbies open and not closing any locations. I don’t necessarily take issue with keep the office locations open but this seems to be contrary to IDPH’s suggestions on social distancing.

  4. - CharlieKratos - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 8:43 am:

    Honestly, for many positions that aren’t public-facing, work from home (at least on some days) should be a normal viable option. Perhaps, we’d save some state dollars and reduce traffic/pollution.

  5. - Pundent - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    =Honestly, for many positions that aren’t public-facing, work from home (at least on some days) should be a normal viable option.=

    A lot of companies didn’t have the culture to support this (management that equated productivity with people being in the office). Unfortunately for those organizations they didn’t invest in the infrastructure needed to be able to implement a work from home plan.

    I think we’ll learn a lot from this event and hopefully reassess how we “define” normal. Whether that’s our workplaces or how we teach. This could be the catalyst to rethink the way we do a lot of things going forward.

  6. - Mr. K. - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    As I understand it, the primary issue here is DoIT. They don’t (or didn’t, as of last Friday) have the infrastructure to allow employees to work from home.

    The big issue, apparently, was allowing non-state-issued PCs on DoIT’s network (via, I’m assuming, a VPN of some sort).

    Apparently, they solved some of this — but there will be a lot of IT issues in the upcoming few days.

    The other issue — yes — was the culture. The state is desperately, desperately opposed to mass-telecommuting. In our agency, the telecommuting was limited to one or two people per unit — and it was only allowed by those one or two people in very, very limited circumstances.

    So, say, if your job was 100% teleworkable — i.e., a programmer/coder/developer — the odds were virtually nil that would qualify. In other words, it had nothing to do with your job. It had everything to do with verifying outside circumstances — childcare, etc. — that had absolutely nothing to do with the job itself.

    This might’ve changed. I dunno. But I know managers are — as I say — desperately opposed to telework.

    Until yesterday, that is. Now, everybody is all-in. But only because we’re forced to. Not because anyone thinks it’s a good idea.

    Nevermind that every meeting I have with other agencies has — for months now — been via Webex. Rarely, in person.


  7. - Anon State Employee - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    So those that are considered essential will have to report w no extra pay and be espoused. No hazardous duty pay ?

  8. - DoIt - Monday, Mar 16, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Sorry but saying that DoIT doesn’t have the infrastructure is patently false. This is all about the culture at CMS and DoIT.

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