On Our Displaced Correctional Pharmacy Employees: ‘We Win’
The state, UConn Health, and DOC all decided that they did not want to have to answer to an injunction in court.
We were able to come to an agreement where our pharmacists, who were providing the medications to the inmates/patients in DOC custody, would be afforded their full SEBAC (State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition) rights. Five pharmacists who would not have had jobs as of Oct. 1 were all given jobs. Three are staying here at UConn Health, getting additional training with the help of SEBAC, and two others will have started at DHMAS (Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services) by the time you read this. Their pay rates will not be decreased and they have been made whole. Exactly what we asked for from Day 1!
Some background on this:
UHP and 1199 members have been providing pharmacy services for multiple years. The pharmacy group members of 1199 and UHP made the same sacrifices we all made in 2017. They took the three zeroes; they agreed to adjustments in the retirement and health care. The state was very happy to accept our sacrifices. We are supposed to be afforded layoff protection until 2021 because of all the money we collectively gave back to the state. Well now the state and DOC feel they can save money by privatizing that service. So they want to lay off our members. UConn Health feels that these employees are not eligible for layoff protection. The reason given? Because we lost a contract. A STATE (DOC) CONTRACT. It’s our understanding that the DOC is sending those jobs out of state to a private for-profit company.
Our union has been fighting this at each and every avenue we have. We filed grievances with HR both individually and as a group for these members. We filed a SEBAC grievance seeking a mediator to hear expeditiously on the basis that these members should be afforded SEBAC layoff protection. The State Contracting Standards Board has its privatization sub-group looking at our complaint. And even in the courts, as we get a judge to hear our case against the DOC, which we feel violated state law while entering into a contract – one that the agency still has not shown anyone.
—In solidarity, Bill Garrity