Hochul prepares to mitigate impact of vaccine mandate; CSEA gets TRO for court system workers
The Times Union Capitol Bureau is reporting Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sept. 25, she will get the help of health care professionals from other states or countries, deploy medically trained National Guard members and request federal Disaster Medical Assistance teams if staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities increase after the statewide vaccination mandate begins Sept. 27. "We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal," Hochul said in a statement Sept. 25. Hochul said she is poised to declare a state of emergency to increase the workforce and allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York. Other options include deployment of medically trained National Guard members, and partnering with the federal government to bring in Disaster Medical Assistance Teams. As of Sept. 22, 84 percent of all hospital employees statewide were fully vaccinated. As of Sept. 23, 81 percent of staff at all adult care facilities and 77 percent of all staff at nursing home facilities in New York were fully vaccinated. All health care workers at hospitals and nursing homes are to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the first dose received by September 27, and staff at other sites including home care, hospice, and adult care facilities are to be vaccinated by Oct. 7. Read more in the Times Union. Columbia-Greene Media is reporting a justice of the state Supreme Court late Sept. 24, granted the union representing 5,800 Unified Court System workers in New York a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the vaccine mandate for non-judicial court system workers scheduled go into effect on the 27th. “This is a victory for the labor relations process and reaffirms that the court system is not above the Taylor Law, just like any other public employer in New York state,” CSEA Communications Director Mark Kotzin said Sept. 24. The Taylor Law grants public employees the right to organize and to be represented by employee organizations of their own choice. The decision temporarily halted the Unified Court System from going ahead with its mandate until at least October 1, when CSEA believes there will be a second hearing. The union made a charge of improper practice based on the Unified Court System’s decision to impose a change in the terms and conditions of employment without negotiating those changes with CSEA. That action requires the court system to negotiate the vaccine mandate with the union. Read more at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.