12 state workers fired for violating Gov. Lamont's vaccine mandate
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday that 12 state workers were fired due to violating the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The dozen fired workers were new hires on probationary status, and not subject to the usual labor protections. Other workers will have at least 45 days of unpaid leave before they're replaced.
"I can't tell you what agencies they're from. I can tell you, broadly speaking, it's distributed across different agencies. So it's not like it's concentrated in one or two, where we'd have an interruption of work issue," Lamont says.
Some agencies, though, are already understaffed especially critical nurses.
"A lot of times they're working three or four days in a row with minimal sleep in between," says Trung Le, a former UConn Health nurse.
Officials say most teachers are following the rules, but the Connecticut Department of Education has the worst compliance in the state. As of Thursday night, 146 workers or 7% of its staff were still not vaccine or signed up to get tested weekly.
The lowest vaccination rate belongs to the Department of Corrections. Only 57% of prison staff are fully vaccinated, but the governor's office doesn't expect disruptions.
"Well, first and foremost, you know, our number one obligation is to provide a safe and healthy workplace," says Connecticut COO Josh Geballe. "But those areas where there are shortages are pretty limited, actually."
Lamont says sending workers home is a last resort.
"We reached out and made sure it wasn't a matter of misunderstanding. If it was, work with us. Work with us now," says Lamont.
Lamont said more workers will go on unpaid leave next week.
The state has agreed to pay for weekly testing during the span of the declared state of emergency, which lasts until Feb. 5, 2022. Originally, officials only promised to pay for four weeks of weekly testing.