State Admits that New Mask Requirements Are Subject to Union Notice
On February 10, 2022, the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) released guidance for the use of face masks, which goes into effect February 16, 2022. This new order affects SEIU Local 1000 represented employees, as well as a recent settlement agreement (in PERB Case No. SA-CE-2205-S) that protects workers from discipline related to their vaccination status. The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) Director, Eraina Ortega, outlines the new order’s obvious impacts on state workers but also requires notice to the union, stating in part:
“State employees who do not provide verification of vaccination shall be required to wear a mask in indoor settings or in vehicles. …
In making any changes to employee working conditions to respond to state or local health directives, please coordinate with your labor relations office to ensure appropriate, timely notice is given to labor organizations and adhere to labor contract agreements.”
In response, the Union demanded in the letter linked here that CalHR honor our prior settlement terms reached in PERB Case No. SA-CE-2205-S, which provide that disclosure of vaccination status is voluntary and that no employee will be subject to discipline regarding vaccination status, and ensure that the proposed change in masking will not imperil our recent agreement. As this new CDPH order presents the risk of employees being visually distinguished by their masking decision – which could be viewed as a disclosure of their vaccination status – the Union’s letter demands immediate action to respect our right to Notice and the protections of our settlement terms. This PERB case involved all represented workers except correctional and health care settings.