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*** UPDATED x1 *** “Unclear” on the concept

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022

* Illinois Policy Institute

Unvaccinated teachers and school employees don’t deserve COVID-19 paid leave, so no educators will get it until a bill excludes the unvaccinated, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

He vetoed the bill Jan. 24 after allowing it to sit on his desk for months.

The bill passed with bipartisan support in October 2021 and would’ve given paid administrative leave to school, college and university employees for absences related to COVID-19 rather than making them take sick time. Pritzker said it should only apply to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The governor’s office simultaneously announced efforts with two of Illinois’ teachers unions to provide paid leave for every public school and higher education employee who is “fully vaccinated or has received the required doses to become fully vaccinated within five weeks” of the law passing.

Yeah, no.

The original bill gave unlimited and retroactive paid leave to vaccinated and unvaccinated K-12 and higher education public employees for COVID-19 reasons. The union-backed compromise means that the unvaxed will still receive paid leave within their usual sick day allotment and other paid days off, or as negotiated in their local union contracts. But that paid time off won’t be otherwise unlimited.

I gotta say I’m a little surprised that the anti-union IPI, of all outfits, is in favor of giving unlimited and retroactive paid leave to any public employees for any reason, including through their collective bargaining agreements. But, I suppose, sowing doubt and confusion among their followers about COVID-19 may be a higher priority. And the unvaxed may be more likely to be anti-union.

*** UPDATE *** I strongly disagree, but this is as it should be…

On Monday, Governor Pritzker announced an agreement reached between his office and the state’s two education unions, Illinois Education Association (IEA) and Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), to provide additional administrative leave for vaccinated education employees to reinstate past and future sick time used due to quarantine, isolation and illness from COVID 19. The Springfield Education Association-IEA believes that all of our members who have complied with the Governor’s Executive Order to provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing deserve relief and additional leave. On Tuesday evening, The SEA Executive Committee voted unanimously to direct its impact bargaining team to negotiate with the District 186 School Board for COVID leave for members not covered by the Governor’s proposed legislation.

All of our members have worked throughout this entire pandemic, complied with the Governor’s Executive order, and have been impacted by having to use their accrued sick days as a result of COVID cases and/or close contacts. SEA leadership supports the Governor and District 186’s efforts to increase vaccination rates, and the majority of SEA members are vaccinated against COVID. SEA does not, however, support treating our members’ benefits differently while all of our members have complied with the Governor’s executive order. We do not support forcing our members to choose between getting a vaccine and a potential loss of sick time or wages. Rather, we support a continuing process of education and persuasion related to public health, not coercion of our members by creating tiered levels of benefits.

Even outside of the pandemic, sick days have always been essential to our membership. In order for our members to give birth, care for their families, and protect their physical and mental health in the coming school years, our days used as a direct result of COVID need to be returned to all of our members. SEA stands united in fighting to protect these days for all members.

Waiting for the IPI to stand firmly behind the collective bargaining rights of teachers in 3… 2…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 2:05 am:

    “Journalism” is so much easier when you start with your conclusion and work backward to build your analysis.


  2. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 4:52 am:

    The Governor’s paid leave time compromise is all well and good.

    But why did the original bill only provide this for teachers and other school and university staff, and left Vaccinated (and in some cases Boosted, like me) rank and file State Employees out to dry with nothing? Ironically, the union that covers my state position is one of them that was strongly endorsing the paid time compromise. Talk about a slap in the face to the State Employees in various agencies that this union happens to represent.


  3. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 6:38 am:

    === I’m a little surprised that the anti-union IPI, of all outfits, is in favor of giving unlimited and retroactive paid leave to any public employees for any reason ===

    Well,I guess their positions change based on their highest priority, which is to throw as much mud as they can on a Democratic governor who is actually helping the state.


  4. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 6:41 am:

    I assume or hope that unvaccinated with medical reasons or religious reason get same benefits as vaccinated


  5. - Todd - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 7:25 am:

    just another reason for those who didn’t get the vax to not pay for the union dues under janis.

    What ever happened to equal protection under the law? I hope someone takes it to court


  6. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:29 am:

    ==Unvaccinated teachers and school employees don’t deserve COVID-19 paid leave, so no educators will get it until a bill excludes the unvaccinated==

    Hilarious coming from a shop opposed to all forms of employee leave.


  7. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:31 am:

    The IPI believes very much in personal responsibility, except for freeloading off of unions, which it openly encourages.

    The law rewards those who are responsible in getting vaccinated. How about instead of fighting it, just get vaccinated? It’s very easy, very good in the fight against COVID and very safe. It would save the state money, having healthier employers who are producing and not out sick for long periods of time. Why should taxpayers reward the dangerously irresponsible? Don’t they think of the taxpayers?


  8. - A - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:41 am:

    Not taking a side either way but not much more rankles me than talking about teachers vs taxpayers. Last time I knew, teachers are the same taxpayers as taxpayers.


  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 8:59 am:

    = IPI, of all outfits, is in favor of =

    Anything that supports bashing a democratic office holder.

    “We oppose X because of Y”

    It doesn’t matter what Y is. The important part of their equation is getting the message of X out there. Y can be something different every time, but X is always laser focused on the target.

    They’ve put in the time to mold their audience over the years into having an extremely short attention span. Come election day nobody in their audience will remember any of the Y’s. All they will know is the constant drumbeat of ‘oppose X’.


  10. - Jocko - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:37 am:

    I’m confused. Does IPI want to have teachers out sick…requiring the district pay out of (the taxpayer’s) pocket for substitute teachers who provide inferior instruction?


  11. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    ==requiring the district pay out of (the taxpayer’s) pocket for substitute teachers who provide inferior instruction?==

    Let alone in some of these classes, the poor substitute basically was a baby sitter to a classroom who took advantage of the regular teacher’s absence to goof off and disrupt classroom instruction.


  12. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:05 am:

    =requiring the district pay out of (the taxpayer’s) pocket for substitute teachers who provide inferior instruction?=

    What substitutes/


  13. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:05 am:

    ?


  14. - Lt Guv - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    Seems a bit out of character. Perhaps some a gummy got into dinner on top of the wine from Rauner’s cellars.


  15. - Ashland Adam - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:19 am:

    “…. why did the original bill only provide this for teachers and other school…”

    The bill was intended to address Covid issues in education. As you can see - this was not necessarily an easy lift.

    There are other unions in public schools - please note they did not take the lead on this issue - as they have far fewer members in education than do the two large teachers’ unions. It was appropriate that the teachers’ unions take the lead on Covid issues in schools; likewise - would it not be appropriate for the large union that represents the bulk of non-education public employees to file a bill to address Covid issues they face? I would bet the education unions could be supportive, but in a secondary role.


  16. - Pete Mitchell - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    “Yeah, no.
     
    The original bill gave unlimited and retroactive paid leave to vaccinated and unvaccinated K-12 and higher education public employees for COVID-19 reasons.”
     
    Yes, and so does the new language.  However, only for vaccinated.  I’m missing why you keep repeating that as if something changed other than the unvaccinated getting the boot. 


  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    ===I’m missing why you keep repeating that as if something changed other than the unvaccinated getting the boot. ===

    Because that’s what should have changed. Never shoulda been in the bill in the first place. Are you that obtuse?


  18. - Pete Mitchell - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    Not obtuse but you italicized “unlimited and retroactive paid leave” and not the word unvaccinated. Leads one to think with the italicizing that your issue was with the italicized portion. It’s been clear you strongly encourage vaccination but you kept highlighting the paid time off as an issue and not directly saying the unvaccinated was your issue.


  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===Leads one to think===

    Yes, one. You. Move along.


  20. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    As I implied earlier, this compromise needs to be expanded to cover all vaccinated State Employees (including those of the constitutionals). Perhaps for state employees add a deadline of say, end of March to get fully vaccinated. And if Apr. 1 comes and there’s still some unvaxxed employees, make them submit to testing, and if they still don’t change their mind when FY23 begins, then fire them (meaning they get no pensions). Do the same for the booster by the end of September–require that for all state employees and teachers too. Then maybe this could make the paid leave more palatable.

    Hypocritical that the union that covers my job was for this for teachers but didn’t raise a finger for fellow Vaccinated State Employees (and in my case, boosted). Fully vaccinated since early last spring but have still have to go to the office daily except for a couple months when COVID and the stay-at-home arrived almost 2 years ago.


  21. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 12:44 pm:

    =this compromise needs to be expanded to cover all vaccinated State Employees=

    Sounds like your beef is with your union or perhaps your fellow members who see the benefits of this differently than the teachers.

    And on what authority would anyone have their pension stripped for not being vaccinated (after being fired no less)?


  22. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Jan 26, 22 @ 5:49 pm:

    ==Sounds like your beef is with your union ==

    Yes, for not trying to push the compromise further and push for the same benefits for Vaccinated (and preferably Boosted) State and Local Government Employees, not just teachers and school/university staff.


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