The past week many of you have shared your opinions with the Executive Committee of NAAE on the impending Agency policy addressing COVID in the workplace. Some BUEs strongly support this policy but others have expressed concerns about the implementation of this policy.
We want you to know the Agency has engaged NAAE in periodic discussions of the forth-coming policy of COVID, but to date we are advised that this policy has not yet been finalized – perhaps the onset of the delta variant and the still-evolving guidance from the CDC on vaccinations and masking have delayed its release. NAAE has notified Agency management at the highest level that the Union intends to negotiate that policy with Management once it is made public and that the Union demands the Agency not implement that policy until all negotiations with NAAE are concluded. (We have offered to enter into expedited negotiations so as not to unduly delay implementation.)
Rest assured we intend to negotiate such issues as to what type of testing will be required, where that testing will take place, whether testing will occur on official time, and any exemptions from testing (and their length) for those who have previously contracted COVID, among other issues deemed important to the bargaining unit. Clearly, though, we are dealing with a nationwide policy originating with the President and the CDC and thus may have only limited room to negotiate. On top of that, we have to represent, to the best of our ability and knowledge, the interests of all or a majority of the bargaining unit members on this, a proven contentious, set of issues.