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Daily Journal
     October 22, 2021      #56-295 KDJ

Maintenance workers at Shapiro now required to

Daily Journal staff report

Nearly 2,100 state workers are now covered under union agreements requiring vaccines after Gov. JB Pritzker announced the fifth such agreement with the Teamsters on Thursday.

The latest agreement is applicable to maintenance equipment operators and maintenance workers at the Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. Included are maintenance employees at Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee.

An Oct. 26 deadline is in place, and negotiations are ongoing with AFSCME representatives to mandate vaccines for thousands more state workers. So far, agreements cover 2,090 state workers.

"State employees who remain unvaccinated pose a significant risk to individuals in Illinois' congregate facilities," according to a press release from Pritzker's office. "Therefore, if employees do not receive the vaccine or an exemption by the dates identified, progressive disciplinary measures will be implemented, which may ultimately lead to discharge."

The agreement includes a process whereby employees can seek an exemption based on medical contraindications or sincerely held religious beliefs.

The state's five agreements require vaccinations for the following: 

• Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, 260 supervisory employees

• Illinois Nurses Association, approximately 1,100 nurses 

• Illinois Federation of Public Employees, approximately 160 employees working in human services and Veterans' Affairs

• Illinois Trade Unions, approximately 470 employees (including those at Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee)

• Teamsters, approximately 100 maintenance equipment operators and maintenance workers 

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