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Friday, August 6, 2021
Ige Mandates Vax or Testing for Public Employees--Unions Resist
By News Release @ 2:43 AM :: 1423 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Labor, COVID-19

GOVERNOR IGE SIGNS EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION ESTABLISHING VACCINATION AND TESTING POLICY FOR STATE AND COUNTY EMPLOYEES

Big Q: Do you support requiring COVID-19 vaccines for state and county government workers? -- 89% ‘YES’

News Release from Office of the Governor, Aug 5, 2021

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today signed an emergency proclamation related to the State of Hawaiʻi’s COVID-19 response.

Beginning Aug. 16, 2021, all State and county employees must provide their vaccination status to their department, office or agency. If they cannot provide proof of vaccination, they will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing. The location of free testing sites is available at https://hawaiicovid19.com. If a free testing site is not used, employees must cover any testing costs. In addition, they may be subject to restrictions on official travel.

“The highly contagious Delta variant creates a big risk of infection, especially for members of our community who are not vaccinated. With spiking COVID-19 case numbers, we have to take measures now to prevent an unmanageable strain on our healthcare system. This new vaccination and testing policy for State and county workers will help protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of Hawaiʻi,” said Gov. Ige.

As announced, the Emergency Proclamation will not continue to suspend the provision of 127A that enabled the state eviction moratorium because the legislature enacted legislation to address the situation. However, any eviction actions will still need to comply with the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Eviction Moratorium.

Other provisions of the Emergency Proclamation:

Continues statewide mandatory mask provisions for indoor public settings.

Continues the mandatory travel quarantine and Safe Travels program, including the pre-travel testing and vaccination exceptions to the quarantine.

Continues the suspension of licensing requirements for select professions that meet certain conditions. These medical professions include locally hired physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, radiographers, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, and civil service employed clinical psychologists and more. Those who previously had their license revoked or suspended are not eligible for this temporary exception.

Allows Boards and Commissions to continue to meet virtually using interactive conference technology, reflecting the intent of the Legislature in Act 220 (2021).

Allows for the extension of expirations for driver’s licenses, state IDs, and instructional permits that expired during the emergency period. This extension allows county driver’s licensing centers to recover from the ongoing effects of the pandemic on availability of services.

Ends the limited suspension of the Uniform Information Practices Act, the state’s open records law.

Departments may develop Emergency Rules, if necessary, to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The emergency proclamation is effective immediately and will expire on Oct. 4, 2021.

The emergency proclamation can be found here.

Links:  Photos,  Video

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PUBLIC UNIONS ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S VACCINE POLICY

News Release August 5, 2021

The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association (HFFA), Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), and the United Public Workers (UPW) released the following joint statement in reaction to Gov. David Ige’s plan to impose a vaccination mandate for state and county employees:

We strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccinations as part of our united effort to beat the pandemic and protect our community’s health. The health and well-being of our public employees, who have been essential during this pandemic, remain our top priority while we continue to keep vital government operations running every day.

The public-sector unions reached out to the governor’s office earlier this week to initiate discussions about the vaccine mandate, but our request was denied. We will continue to fight for open discussions about these important decisions that affect public employees, our government operations, and our community.

The emergency proclamation will impact our members’ working conditions and the employer must bargain those impacts with the appropriate collective bargaining units. Details on how tests will be administered, how results will be kept confidential, and how the state will fund this mandate will need to be negotiated with the state and we look forward to having those discussions right away.

The collective bargaining process is premised on the foundation that a harmonious and cooperative relationship between government and its employees will better protect and serve the public by assuring the effective and orderly operations of government. There is no greater time in our history and existence that this process be recognized and honored.

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UNION RESPONSES:

COVERAGE:

 

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