We learned this morning from Field Staff that they were being required to report to an Institution TODAY, not later this week, and numerous Staff are now being required to work not just one shift per week but two shifts and possibly three shifts/week.
We raised these issues with the Department immediately and learned that their prior information was based upon grossly under-estimated figures and one other issue:
- The Department is requiring our Field Staff to report Institutions based upon a specific need to have each Unit fully and properly staffed. The original underestimated need numbers were based upon something less than proper staffing.
- Some staff did not answer phone calls on Sunday, which caused the Department to adjust numbers based upon the lower number of DPOs who had confirmed.
Based upon our discussion with the Department this afternoon, we understand that Field DPOs will likely be required to cover two shifts per week, and some possibly three shifts per week. We emphasize how difficult all this is for all Local 685 members (both Field and Institutions). We also emphasize the fact that the Department is operating under emergency clauses in our MOU that allow them to redeploy staff to meet critical needs.
The Institutions are under tremendous pressure and the staffing formula being used by the Department is critical to keeping the Institutions intact at a time when some in the public are calling for them all to close. We recognize the serious pressure being placed on all members at this time and urge members to respond to Department inquiries, report as directed, and keep us informed so we can continue to advocate for you.
Local 685 is continuously monitoring sanitation and cleaning protocols by the Department in the facilities, as well as proper protective gear (gloves, masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer) and ask that you keep us informed of your safety concerns.
At a time when some in the public are calling for closing our Institutions, we believe that our members, you all, will demonstrate that minors are SAFEST in our Institutions, something that will benefit us well beyond this current crisis.
Stay safe, Sisters and Brothers!
AFSCME Local 685