We held a joint meeting with Rowan administration and CWA last week to discuss Juneteenth, evolving plans to reopen the campus, and vaccines. We wanted to give you some updates from that meeting.
Rowan SOM has begun a phased return to campus plan beginning July 6, 2021. Some of our members have already received notice of an expectation to return to work after the July 4th holiday. We continue to express our concerns to administration regarding a return to campus and emphasized the need for a safe process for everyone. We discussed the ever-changing direction of the CDC as well as the Governor’s office with regards to COVID safety and requirements. The University’s position follows the Governor’s office in eliminating the requirements for social distancing and masks are currently only required on campus while in clinical areas. If you are instructed to return to work and have concerns for health or safety, please contact a union rep for assistance in requesting an accommodation through the Human Resources office.
Rowan SOM has provided an incentive plan for parking relief for vaccinations. We insisted this relief does not go far enough and advocated for a reduced work week such as the main campus was provided as an incentive. The need for patient care prevents the clinical areas from closing and SOM has stated they wish to remain consistent across the board for each campus. We pushed them to consider alternate work arrangements that would benefit the campus and our members.
During the discussions on vaccines, we pushed Rowan SOM for a position on mandating vaccines for staff in the future. As the vaccine is still in an “emergency use” status, there is no plan to mandate vaccines, but they are considering following protocols such as for the Flu shot in the future. We made our position very clear that this would be a mandatory subject of negotiation and they would need to bargain over any policy or position on mandatory vaccines. While the State and Federal governments have formally announced Juneteenth as a holiday, and the State has been given the additional holiday on the calendar, Rowan SOM denied this time off to our members. We find this UNACCEPTABLE. We argued for an additional float holiday to be added to our benefit time off bank. Rowan SOM’s position is to wait until contract negotiations in 2023. That would mean two more years before we would be able to claim our additional day off. We are working in coalition with the other SOM unions to appeal directly to President Houshmand, Dean Cavalieri, and the Board of Trustees.
If you have any questions about returning to campus that have not been addressed in this update, please reach out to your onsite rep or Christine Munck to address these concerns. We will provide more information once we have an update from administration.
Rowan Chair, HPAE Local 5094