Rhode Island state government employees may soon be eligible for a $3,000 bonus for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Hill. There has been a tentative agreement on a new contract between the McKee administration and the most significant state workers’ union in Rhode Island, which includes giving two $1,500 bonuses to workers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
A Bonus Of $3,000
According to WPRI, president of AFSCME Council, 94 J. Michael Downey said Thursday the tentative four-year agreement would be voted on December 2. He said that 60 of the union’s members would be going out to get feedback. First, workers will receive a $1,500 vaccination bonus following the vote next month, followed by an additional $1,500 bonus in July of that year.
Derek Gomes, a spokesman for the Department of Administration, had said that the State and the Unions are working diligently on a contract. Until a contract is signed, the State will not release any information in an email sent from him. According to Associated Press, as of October 1, state health care workers in Rhode Island had to be fully vaccinated against the virus.
Health-care workers and others have been subject to vaccine mandates. However, the approximately 3,800 state workers covered by the tentative agreement have not, as per Providence Journal. It is estimated that AFSCME Council 94 represents 10,000 active and retired members, said Rhode Island Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki in a statement.
State workers who have already been vaccinated like the rest will receive free taxpayer money while those who refuse vaccinations for religious or health reasons will undoubtedly continue to refuse vaccinations, “…he can frame this as trying to get ‘needles in arms,’ but we’ll call this exactly what it is, an attempt to buy union support before a primary” Cienki added. Neither House Speaker Joe Shekarchi nor Senate President Dominick Ruggerio’s spokespeople confirmed that the two legislative leaders knew the tentative agreement.