Lodge Information – COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Policy
Please see the below email sent on Sunday, 10/31/21. This outlines the negotiated benefits for our members. This is not the all inclusive plan that OHRM is responsible for publishing and enacting. Most notably, the distribution of the self-test kits, has not been executed by the County. Members are encouraged to contact OHRM@co.pg.md.us with this and related questions so they understand the importance of a quick resolution.
There will be no negative impact to any member while the test kits, etc are are unavailable.
Brothers and Sisters,
Last Thursday, October 28, 2021, everyone was sent an email from CAO Tara Jackson entitled Update – COVID-19 vaccination and testing for County Government Employees. As suggested in that email, the FOP has signed a Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the County in reference to this policy.
We would have expected more information to have been provided to our membership by now by the County or the Police Department; at this point, however, we must assume it will be forthcoming. In the interim we wanted to outline for our members the details that we have agreed to with the County.
This LOU was signed after months of negotiations with the County on this subject. It was always clear that the County had the authority to adopt a vaccine and testing policy, even though the FOP adamantly believes that this late in the game, it is not needed. Nonetheless, once it was made clear that we could not convince the County not to adopt this policy, our only recourse was to insist on/invoke our right to bargain/negotiate the effects of this policy. The end result of this process is the following:
Effective November 1st, all members must produce evidence of having been vaccinated or provide evidence of a COVID-19 test with a negative result on a weekly basis. Below are the excerpts from the LOU that will let the membership know exactly what we have agreed to. The email from CAO Jackson included at least 2 items that were not part of the negotiated LOU. One is that if our membership maintains a vaccination rate at or above 80%, police officers will not be required to test. Although this is not part of what we bargained, if we were to reach that threshold, we would be eligible for the substance of that rule. We also did not bargain for or discuss any educational issues or opportunities.
PROOF OF VACCINATIONS:
- All bargaining unit members who have not already done so will log into the County Vaccination Status Portal and update their status and/or upload their COVID-19 vaccination card or other proof of vaccination that is issued from a local, state, or federal health authority to the County Vaccination System. Bargaining unit members who do not submit their vaccine card or proof of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated.
- Bargaining unit member vaccination information will be confidential and stored in a secured vaccination portal, pursuant to HIPAA and all other applicable laws.
- The County will provide a process for electronic collection of bargaining member vaccination cards/records. The Appointing Authority’s designee will also be available to upload vaccination cards on behalf of the employee.
- The County will allow up to two (2) hours of Administrative Leave for each bargaining unit member to receive the first COVID-19 vaccination and up to two (2) hours of Administrative Leave to receive the second COVID-19 vaccination through December 31, 2021.
- Each vaccinated bargaining unit member who successfully reports and uploads proof of vaccination of their first vaccination in the County portal by November 30, 2021, and uploads proof of vaccination of their second vaccination by December 31, 2021, will receive a one-time incentive payment in the amount of $500. Employees who choose the single shot vaccination must upload their proof of vaccination by November 30, 2021, to receive their incentive payment. Employees with approved medical or religious exemptions will also be eligible for this incentive payment.
As a result of Executive Order 22-2021, all bargaining unit members who have not submitted proof of vaccination will begin to submit to COVID-19 diagnostic testing effective November 1, 2021 on a weekly basis. This test is only for officers who have not submitted proof of vaccination.
- Weekly COVID-19 diagnostic testing for bargaining unit members will be done by self-testing during the employee’s scheduled work shift, via a COVID-19 “rapid” test kit provided by the County. The following options are also available:
- Off-duty testing at a County designated testing center (Bunker Hill Fire Station or the RMS Building); or
- Off-duty testing by an authorized provider of the employee’s choice (pharmacy, personal physician, etc.), for which the employee will assume any cost.
- Bargaining unit members who take a “rapid” test and receive an inconclusive result will need to immediately inform their supervisor and follow the County’s contact tracing policy to obtain a PCR test. These bargaining unit members will be placed on administrative leave for no more than two (2) calendar days.
The County will follow a progressive discipline process for employees who do not provide the appropriate testing documentation as follows:
- First Offense – Written Reprimand
- Second Offense – One-day Suspension without Pay
- Third Offense – Two-day Suspension without Pay
- Fourth Offense – Leave Without Pay (LWOP) until such time that the employee complies, or the testing protocol is discontinued or sunsets
All County provided testing centers shall cease operations effective close of business December 31, 2021.
- From January 1, 2022 through January 31, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., all bargaining unit members shall test using the County provided self-test kit during the employee’s scheduled work shift, via a COVID-19 “rapid” test kit provided by the County. Bargaining unit members may continue to utilize an authorized provider of the employee’s choice (pharmacy, personal physician, etc.), but in this case the employee will assume any cost and use of their leave as necessary.
- The FOP 89 President and the Director of Human Resources Management will meet by no later than January 14, 2022 to discuss testing protocols. Prior to such date, if testing protocols require continuance or changes, the FOP 89 President will be notified, and the parties will engage in appropriate effects negotiations.
- On January 31, 2022 at 11:59 p.m., all terms and conditions of the LOU shall expire.
As of the signing of this MOU, our membership was only around 50% participation on the reporting portal. Therefore, our assumed vaccinated percent is not properly known. It is imperative at this point that our members go to the portal and either upload proof of vaccination or answer one of the other options so we can achieve as close to 100% participation as possible to ensure that our actual vaccinated population is known.
In anticipation of COVID-19 issues persisting through to the New Year and the unknown as we move into the future, the FOP is developing a survey that we will be sending out to our membership on December 1, 2021. This time frame will allow for us to develop the survey and not affect the responses to this survey or our current manpower survey that is scheduled to be open until November 30th.
Angelo Consoli Sherrice Carpenter Paul Mazzei
President 1st Vice President 2nd Vice PresidentShare on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest