UConn-AAUP Update: August 31, 2021

REMINDER TO WEAR YOUR STICKER THURSDAY

Wearing your AAUP/SEBAC sticker shows support for your colleagues who are trying to get you a fair contract and wage increase. “Sticker UP” and send a selfie of you and your colleagues through social media.

In this Issue:

  • “Sticker-Up” with UConn-AAUP/SEBAC – September 2, 2021

On September 2, 2021, your negotiating team will re-start negotiations with administrative representatives towards a new collective bargaining agreement. This next period of negotiating is following an attempt by the Board of Trustees (BOT) to hold an extension of the expiring agreement hostage while contemplating a petition to the Labor Board to remove coaches from the bargaining unit. Many of our members contacted administrators and legislators about their concerns regarding the hostile negotiating tactics being used by the BOT and the lack of an extension agreement. These actions were a major force in pushing the BOT to abandon its threat.

This event galvanized our bargaining unit.  We now need to show continued solidarity and build momentum toward exerting pressure during the most critical part of negotiations – compensation decisions.

With this in mind, we are joining other unions at UConn and from throughout the state in organizing a worksite action called “Sticker-Up with UCONN AAUP/SEBAC to show support for a fair and equitable contract.

  • Wear or display a UConn-AAUP/SEBAC sticker during working hours on Thursday, September 2nd to generate awareness that members are paying attention to the continuing contract negotiations.
  • Stickers can be displayed on computers, office doors, windows, clothing, etc. and for more than one day if you so choose.
  • Stickers will be distributed by Executive Committee members, Representative Assembly member and AAUP leaders in faculty mailboxes. You also can stop by the AAUP office for stickers or email Barb at barbarak@uconnaaup.org

Anticipating questions from colleagues, students:

  • “Will I get in trouble for wearing a sticker?” No. You have a legally protected right to wear a union sticker at work. In the rare instance your supervisor says you can’t wear it, remove the sticker and contact the union immediately.
  • “Why should I wear the button/sticker?” To bring awareness to the contract negotiations; to show support for your colleagues who are negotiating on your behalf; and to build momentum to pressure the administration to meet the demands of the bargaining unit.
  • “Why Sticker Up Day?” Wearing the sticker inspires other coworkers and creates a sense of trust and unity around a shared struggle.  It also may generate awareness among students who may be interested in the negotiation process and labor rights.

We strongly encourage your participation in Sticker Up Day and ask that you send a “selfie” with your sticker to Barbarak@uconnaaup.org to spread the word on our website and other social media.

In Solidarity.

 

Mary Ellen Junda, Presidents

Jeffery Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

 

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/AAUP

UConn-AAUP Update: August 31, 2021

In this Issue:

  • Communication from the Office of the Provost – 8.27.2021

On Friday, August 27, 2021, the Provost issued a communication to Deans, Associate Deans and Department Heads that we felt should be communicated to our members. With his permission, please see the following message. (We have taken the liberty to highlight important sections.)

This message is being sent to all deans, associate deans, and department heads.

Dear Colleagues,

Monday marks the first day of our new academic year and a significant milestone in our progression through the pandemic, as we resume mostly in-person classes. I know this event brings with it both anticipation and anxiety. As associate deans and department heads, you are in critical positions and I want to make sure you’re aware of our plans and resources designed to ensure as safe a return to our campuses as possible.

The University continues to follow the best, most reliable advice we have available to us, which includes regular consultations with infectious disease experts and epidemiologists at UConn Health and ongoing coordination with state officials. You can be sure that the University’s COVID-planning leaders, UConn Health experts, and state officials are very much aware of the changing conditions created by the Delta variant and any potential effects on guidance. Further, our plan is in full compliance with existing local and federal guidance.

I encourage you to review the message our office sent last week on returning to in-person academics and our academic FAQs. Both address a number of questions and scenarios of interest to academic operations.

The message and FAQs include information on key topics such as the mitigation strategies we already have in place. These strategies include required vaccinations for all employees and students, required masking for all, refreshed and improved ventilation systems in all our classrooms, surveillance testing, and ongoing waste-water testing at the Storrs campus to catch any potential outbreaks early. We are heartened by the fact that during all of last year there were no documented cases of transmission via the classroom and we’re drawing upon what we’ve learned from that experience for this year, as well. No plan can mitigate all risks, and I understand the concerns some in our community have, but we have enacted an approach that is among the most conservative of our peer universities.

Contact tracing and testing will continue to be handled through a combination of Student Affairs, Human Resources, the Department of Public Health, and other health care partners. To be clear, instructors have no responsibility for contact tracing and the classroom is unlikely to be considered a site of transmission. This is because of these mitigation factors including required masking, high vaccination rates, surveillance testing, and enhanced ventilation. Additional details on contact tracing can be found in the FAQ page mentioned above under “COVID Exposure.”  Guidance on how the contact tracing process works in the State of Connecticut can be found at: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/contact.

We have received questions about our ability and willingness to adjust to changing health conditions through the semester. I want to reassure everyone that we are constantly monitoring conditions and guidance, and have put plans in place to address a wide range of scenarios. The EPG (Executive Policy Group) has mapped out a variety of options that include the possibility of shifting fully to online (either short term or for the duration of the semester) and they will be monitoring various factors, including (but not limited to) rates of infection in the surrounding communities, state, and region; occupancy rates for our isolation beds; and other data points. We are fortunate to live and work in a region where infection rates continue to be significantly lower than elsewhere in the country and vaccination rates significantly higher, however, we remain vigilant and prepared should we need to change course.

We will continue to share updates in the coming weeks addressing additional aspects of the return to in-person instruction, as the situation demands. At the same time, we will seek to strike the right balance between providing sufficient information and guidance and not overwhelming you with information (which can have the effect of making people pay less attention to the messages we do send). We also will utilize some of the Associate Dean and Department Head meeting the second week of the semester to discuss the current status of our re-entry and can take any questions and/or suggestions. We also encourage you to reach out directly any time as is useful.

Sincerely,

Carl

Carl Lejuez

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

In Solidarity,

 

Mary Ellen Junda, Presidents

Jeffery Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/AAUP

UConn-AAUP Update: August 26, 2021

In this Issue:

  • “Sticker-Up” with UConn-AAUP/SEBAC – September 2, 2021

On September 2, 2021, your negotiating team will re-start negotiations with administrative representatives towards a new collective bargaining agreement. This next period of negotiating is following an attempt by the Board of Trustees (BOT) to hold an extension of the expiring agreement hostage while contemplating a petition to the Labor Board to remove coaches from the bargaining unit. Many of our members contacted administrators and legislators about their concerns regarding the hostile negotiating tactics being used by the BOT and the lack of an extension agreement. These actions were a major force in pushing the BOT to abandon its threat.

This event galvanized our bargaining unit.  We now need to show continued solidarity and build momentum toward exerting pressure during the most critical part of negotiations – compensation decisions.

With this in mind, we are joining other unions at UConn and from throughout the state in organizing a worksite action called “Sticker-Up with UCONN AAUP/SEBAC to show support for a fair and equitable contract.

  • Wear or display a UConn-AAUP/SEBAC sticker during working hours on Thursday, September 2nd to generate awareness that members are paying attention to the continuing contract negotiations.
  • Stickers can be displayed on computers, office doors, windows, clothing, etc. and for more than one day if you so choose.
  • Stickers will be distributed by Executive Committee members, Representative Assembly member and AAUP leaders in faculty mailboxes. You also can stop by the AAUP office for stickers or email Barb at barbarak@uconnaaup.org

Anticipating questions from colleagues, students:

  • “Will I get in trouble for wearing a sticker?” No. You have a legally protected right to wear a union sticker at work. In the rare instance your supervisor says you can’t wear it, remove the sticker and contact the union immediately.
  • “Why should I wear the button/sticker?” To bring awareness to the contract negotiations; to show support for your colleagues who are negotiating on your behalf; and to build momentum to pressure the administration to meet the demands of the bargaining unit.
  • “Why Sticker Up Day?” Wearing the sticker inspires other coworkers and creates a sense of trust and unity around a shared struggle.  It also may generate awareness among students who may be interested in the negotiation process and labor rights.

We strongly encourage your participation in Sticker Up Day and ask that you send a “selfie” with your sticker to Barbarak@uconnaaup.org to spread the word on our website and other social media.

In Solidarity.

 

Mary Ellen Junda, President

Jeffery Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

 

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/AAUP

 

 

 

UConn-AAUP Update: August 17, 2021

In this Issue:

  • UConn-AAUP Agrees to Mandatory Vaccination Agreement/Policy 
  • UConn-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative (Extension)

Mandatory Vaccination Policy

On Friday, August 13, 2021, UConn-AAUP and UCPEA finalized a mandatory vaccination agreement with Interim President Agwunobi for all faculty and staff at the Storrs and Regional Campus. Today, the University announced the new policy derived from that agreement. We believe this agreement, along with the mandatory vaccination of students, provides the best opportunity to keep the University community healthy and to fight back this latest surge of the Delta variant. (An agreement was also reached with UCHC-AAUP and UHP at the health center.) Our memorandum of agreement (MOA) can be found here.

The agreement, in part, requires the following:

  • Faculty and staff, whether working on-campus or remotely, to be fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021;
  • Application for a medical exemption or deferral of vaccination submitted by September 1, 2021;
  • Proof of vaccination provided or first dose administered by September 10, 2021;
  • Weekly testing protocol for all exemptions and deferrals.

Please follow this link to the UConn-AAUP COVID-19 Resource page for more information.

UConn-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative

Update:  We have received a significant response to our member Wellness Initiative program. To ensure that we do not miss anyone who may have been traveling last week, we are extending the deadline for submitting a form to Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

The COVID pandemic has taken its toll on higher education. A number of our members have experienced personal and professional challenges that have negatively affected their well-being.  Individuals who have been at UConn for only a few years may be particularly impacted, due to complications with the PTR process, additional family responsibilities, and a potentially smaller support network.

The UConn-AAUP wants to support faculty during this difficult time through a Member Wellness Initiative.  As one element of this initiative, we are sponsoring a three-month support & resources group in Fall 2021. The goal of the group will be to provide:

  1. a) Peer support and connection;
  2. b) Information on relevant pragmatic resources (e.g., stopping the tenure clock); and
  3. c) Instruction in evidence-based tools for emotional wellness (e.g., mindfulness, relaxation techniques challenging self-doubt or perfectionism).

Our current plan is to have the group meet between September through December once a week for about one hour. Interested AAUP members should complete the brief form here by August 13, 2021.  These forms ask about your fall schedule and priority topics/concerns.  We will follow up with additional information in mid/late August. Filling out the form does not obligate you to participate.

Thank you.

 

Mary Ellen Junda, President
Jeffrey Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

 

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/AAUP

UConn Vaccination Policy

Title

Mandatory Workforce COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Policy Owner

Human Resources

Applies to

All employees, including volunteers and contractors

Campus Applicability

All campuses, excluding UConn Health

Effective Date

August 18, 2021

For More Information Contact

Human Resources

Contact Information

HR@uconn.edu

Official Website

http://hr.uconn.edu

PURPOSE

UConn is committed to protecting our students, employees, and our communities from COVID-19. Toward that goal, and in consideration of guidance released by the state of Connecticut, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a variety of public health authorities and professional organizations, UConn is implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for its workforce.

APPLIES TO

The Mandatory Workforce COVID-19 Vaccination Policy applies to all Workforce members (see definition below)1. This policy applies to Workforce members regardless of whether they work on-site or remotely, unless the individual qualifies for an exemption as provided herein. Exemptions may be granted to Workforce members (1) who have certain medical conditions; or (2) on the basis of a strong religious or sincerely held belief. Workforce members who are denied an exemption shall have ten (10) days from the date of the notice of the denial to receive the vaccine (either a single dose vaccine or first dose of the 2-dose vaccine). Deferral of the receipt of the vaccine may be granted to Workforce Members (1) who have certain medical conditions; (2) who are on approved block FMLA or supplemental leave; (3) due to a positive COVID test or treatment; or (4) due to current pregnancy or breastfeeding.

DEFINITIONS
Workforce Members— all UConn employees, volunteers, and any contracted individuals.

COVID-19— COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Fully Vaccinated— Individuals are considered fully vaccinated 1) two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines); or 2) two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine).

International employees shall be considered in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccine requirement if they have been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that has either been authorized for emergency use

1 Workforce members represented by bargaining units under the jurisdiction of the State’s Office of Labor Relations (OLR-OPM) are not currently subject to mandatory vaccination requirements of this policy until negotiations have concluded. They are subject to the mandatory reporting, testing and health and safety requirements if unvaccinated.

in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or been authorized for emergency use outside of the United States by the World Health Organization (WHO).

POLICY STATEMENT

All Workforce members are required to have or obtain a COVID-19 vaccination as a term and condition of employment at UConn, unless an exemption or deferral has been approved. All Workforce members shall be required to report their vaccine status and to provide approved documentation as proof of vaccination. All current employees shall be required to report their status not later than September 10, 2021. All new Workforce members shall be required to provide proof of their vaccination status prior to the start of their employment. All records of vaccinations and approved exemptions will be maintained by Human Resources. Such records will not be included in Workforce members’ personnel files.

ENFORCEMENT

Violations of this policy or associated procedures may result in appropriate disciplinary measures, up to an including dismissal, in accordance with University By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, other applicable University Policies, or as outlined in any procedures document related to this policy.

PROCEDURES/FORMS

Procedures and forms associated with this policy are available on the Human Resources website.

REFERENCES

 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html  https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus
 https://cthosp.org/covid-19-update-center/
 https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets

 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Mandatory Vaccination Policy Resource Page

MOA: 2021-08-13 Final (Executed) COVID19 Vaccination MOA (UCPEA AAUP) Signed[1]

UConn COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: UConn-COVID-19-Vaccination-Policy_FINAL-8.17.21

UConn COVID-19 Vaccination Procedures: COVID-19-Vaccination-Procedures_FINAL-8.17.21

UConn Draft Medical Exemption or Deferrals Request (Not available yet)

UConn Draft Religious Exemption Request  (Not available yet)

HR Information site: http://https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-covid-vaccine/

HR COVID-19 FAQ Mandatory-Workforce-COVID-FAQ-v.7

 

UConn Faculty and Staff COVID Information

Survey results: Report on Vaccination Survey

 

EEOC: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Vaccination Exemptions:

http:https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/section-12-religious-discrimination#_ftn209

EEOC Updated COVID-19 Technical Assistance

What you should know about COVID-19 and ADA

 

UConn-AAUP Update: August 11, 2021

In this Issue:

  • Vaccination Policy Update
  • Professional Development Fund
  • UConn-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative (Reminder)

Vaccination Policy Update

UConn-AAUP supports a University of Connecticut mandatory vaccination policy that will ensure the health and safety of the University community. We are working with the administration on the development and implementation of that policy. More information will be provided over the next few days.

Professional Development Fund

In negotiations for the extension agreement last month, UConn-AAUP was able to secure professional development funds at the level of last year $910,00, plus rollover money from previous years FY19, FY20 and Fall FY21 totaling $774,197, and an additional $348,000 from Spring FY21 to FY22. Please follow the link for the latest guidance on applying for professional development funds.

UConn-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative

The COVID pandemic has taken its toll on higher education. A number of our members have experienced personal and professional challenges that have negatively affected their well-being.  Individuals who have been at UConn for only a few years may be particularly impacted, due to complications with the PTR process, additional family responsibilities, and a potentially smaller support network.

The UConn-AAUP wants to support faculty during this difficult time through a Member Wellness Initiative.  As one element of this initiative, we are sponsoring a three-month support & resources group in Fall 2021. The goal of the group will be to provide:

  1. a) Peer support and connection;
  2. b) Information on relevant pragmatic resources (e.g., stopping the tenure clock); and
  3. c) Instruction in evidence-based tools for emotional wellness (e.g., mindfulness, relaxation techniques challenging self-doubt or perfectionism).

Our current plan is to have the group meet between September through December once a week for about one hour. Interested AAUP members should complete the brief form here by August 13, 2021.  These forms ask about your fall schedule and priority topics/concerns.  We will follow up with additional information in mid/late August. Filling out the form does not obligate you to participate.

Thank you.

 

Mary Ellen Junda, President
Jeffrey Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

 

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/AAUP

UCONN-AAUP Member Wellness Initiative

August 8, 2021

The COVID pandemic has taken its toll on higher education. A number of our members have experienced personal and professional challenges that have negatively affected their well-being.  Individuals who have been at UConn for only a few years may be particularly impacted, due to complications with the PTR process, additional family responsibilities, and a potentially smaller support network.

Research shows that committing time to wellness activities contributes to healthier, happier, productive individuals. The UConn-AAUP wants to support faculty during this difficult time through a Faculty Wellness Initiative.  As one element of this initiative, we are sponsoring a three-month support & resources group in Fall 2021. The goal of the group will be to provide:

  1. a) Peer support and connection;
  2. b) Information on relevant pragmatic resources (e.g., stopping the tenure clock); and
  3. c) Instruction in evidence-based tools for emotional wellness (e.g., mindfulness, relaxation techniques challenging self-doubt or perfectionism).

Our current plan is to have the group meet between September through December once a week for about one hour. In addition, UConn-AAUP plans to sponsor several informal meetings for the group throughout the academic year (e.g., coffee hour, Provost Q & A) to facilitate the development of an ongoing peer support network.  We have asked Dr. Stephanie Milan, Program Head of the Clinical Psychology Program and Licensed Clinical Psychologist, to serve as group facilitator.

Interested AAUP members should complete the brief form here by August 13, 2021.  These forms ask about your fall schedule and priority topics/concerns.  We will follow up with additional information in mid/late August. Filling out the form does not obligate you to participate.

We recognize that any workplace group has limits on confidentiality.  If you feel like you would benefit from formal support during the transition back to university life but do not feel comfortable participating in a group, UConn-AAUP can help you find information about available resources.  Or if you would be interested in attending stand alone topics of interest, we might be able to provide that as well. We will be developing a webpage to help our members identify signs of emotional distress and more easily access information about in-network behavioral health providers.  If you would like help with this type of information before then, please contact Barbara at BarbaraK@uconnaaup.org.

In support of our members,

Mary Ellen Junda, President

Jeff Ogbar, Executive Vice President

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

UConn-AAUP Update: August 5, 2021

Vaccination Policy Survey Results

On July 31, 2021, UConn-AAUP surveyed its members to determine if they would support a university vaccination policy that required mandatory vaccination of faculty and staff. The survey was closed on August 3, 2021 at 10:00 am with 1,245 responses. The following is a summary of the results of the survey. The full report can be found on the UConn-AAUP website at this link.

Report on AAUP Vaccination Policy Survey

August 5, 2021

Summary

The responses to our survey suggest that members of the AAUP bargaining unit overwhelmingly support a mandatory vaccine policy for the faculty and staff in AAUP with University-authorized exemptions. Ninety-four percent supported a mandatory vaccination policy with authorized (e.g., medical) exceptions and 92% support frequent testing of unvaccinated.  Less than 5% indicated that they might ask for an exemption or did not want to answer that question. The 3 question survey had 1,335 full or partial answers. There were a handful of instances of possible duplicate responses (based on duplicate IP addresses), so the analysis  was conducted on 1,245 responses from unique IP addresses. Please follow the link to the full analysis.

Thank you.

 

Mary Ellen Junda, President
Jeffrey Ogbar, Executive Vice President

 

Michael Bailey, Executive Director

 

“Follow” us on Twitter: @UConnAAUP

“Like” Us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/uconnaaup

UConn-AAUP Website: http://www.uconnaaup.org/